Gig Economy in Consumer – Thematic Research

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The “gig economy” describes the changing nature of work in today’s society away from conventional employer-employee structures with fixed hours to flexible freelance working. Talent platforms have emerged to allow job seekers and employers to find each other on-demand. In recent years, the on-demand economy has emerged as key consumer behavior, describing a service built on letting users request a physical good, data, or service, and having it fulfilled as soon as possible.

The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 pose a threat to the gig economy as unemployment has soared. The lack of labor protections such as sick pay has meant many freelancers and self-employed workers are ineligible for government furlough schemes. Drastic changes to consumer behavior have led to restrictions on outdoor movement and more at-home consumption. In turn, popular gig work such as ridesharing has been adversely hit, though food deliveries have soared in popularity.

What are the market dynamics of the gig economy?

Before COVID-19, car-sharing and ride-hailing services were expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. This was supported by the exponentially growing number of users and vehicles associated with apps like Lyft and Uber. Last year during the initial peak of the virus outbreak, many people were subject to stay-at-home orders causing shared mobility services to nosedive. Some consumers will readily resume shared travel, while others will be permanently put off by the idea of sharing spaces with other strangers.

Considering Uber’s dominant position in the ride-hailing industry, we can use its company performance as an indicator for the segment as a whole. The number of active platform users on Uber remains below pre-pandemic levels, representing the adverse impact COVID-19 has had on social mobility platforms. The number of active users stood at 329 million in 2020, establishing a significant drop from 2019. On the other hand, quick commerce apps have accelerated due to the rise of at-home consumption. In order to maintain or build on their market position, or curb the fallout from COVID-19, larger platforms will seek to diversify or consolidate their core businesses. Uber branching out into meal delivery and more recently groceries is indicative of the likely pathway for the market-leading services.

What are key value chain segments of the gig economy?

Value is generated in the gig economy on a number of levels. Full time flexibility and income top-up are the key drivers behind independent freelance work. It allows people to work when they want, as well as supplement their income. This is also true for full-time employees who may choose to work additional hours in their free time. The brand and product attributes include short-term commitments and ad-hoc hours, representing the greater autonomy that workers have over full-time employees.

The gig economy has provided opportunities for workers who are not able to find or are not interested in regular full-time employment. Ride-hailing and delivery gigs allow workers to set their own schedules and work as much or as little as they like.

The ability to choose when to work affords people an added option to supplement their income. Some gig workers choose to work only on the weekends, sometimes to boost their wages if they are full-time employees elsewhere. Short-term commitments enable freelancers the chance to travel as they work since they control their own workload. Alongside general courier, taxi, and property rental gig economy companies, there are a number of specialist platforms that enable freelancers to monetize their expertise on an ad-hoc basis.

Which are the companies mentioned in the report?

L’Oréal, Nestle, Etsy, ShiftPixy, Deliveroo, The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Instacart, Uber, and Postmates are some of the companies mentioned in the report.

Gig economy, by key players

Gig economy, by key players

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Market report scope

Companies covered Etsy, L’Oréal, Lyft, Nestlé, ShiftPixy, Uber, Instacart and The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

This report is a thematic analysis of the Gig economy in consumers. It provides:

  • Key trends in the gig economy that will impact the sector.
  • Details of the key companies, Covid-19 impact on the sector, and the value chain of the gig economy.

Reasons to Buy

  • Gain insight into the latest sub-trends around the gig economy.
  • Identify how this method of work can be used to better position your company.
  • Discover how rapid enforced changes over the past year will influence consumer reactions.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)

Table of Contents

| Contents

Executive summary

Thematic briefing


Industry analysis

Value chain



Further reading

| Our thematic research methodology

| About GlobalData

| Contact Us

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