Less than 6% of Americans Participate in the Gig Economy, Seniors Plan to Increase Hours Over Next Year

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Less than 6% of Americans Participate in the Gig Economy, Seniors Plan to Increase Hours Over Next Year

It seems like everyone has a side gig. From Uber drivers, to Postmates delivery people, to Airbnb rentals, it seems like everyone and their mother (literally) are offering up their services on an on-demand app or platform.

But how many people are actually working on these platforms? 

We surveyed 10,000 adults and found some surprising things:

  • Less than 6% of people participate in the gig economy

  • Of those that do:

    • Among drivers, 64% use more than one app.

    • Females are more happy than males about participating in the gig economy.

    • People ages 55+ want to spend more time on side gigs in the next year.

    • Property sharing is the most lucrative type of side gig, with the majority earning an average income of $1,000 - $5,000 per month.

    • 22.6% of people work 40+ hours per week on gig platforms. Of those people, 23.3% also work a full-time job.  

Survey methodology and summary of findings

During March 2018, we ran a survey using Google Market Research. We surveyed close to 10,000 Americans across all age groups to find out the state of the gig economy today. The results from the survey have been compiled, and are listed in full below - the detailed data is based on the 500 people who responded that they do gigs. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Less than 6% of people participate in the gig economy

  • Of those that do:

    • Driving (eg. Uber, Lyft) was the most popular side gig across all age groups. Among those that drive, 64% use more than one app.

    • Side gigs/freelancing are the most popular with people between the ages of 25 and 34.

    • Males are more likely to have a side gig; females are more happy about having one.

    • 45% of those with side gigs work less than 10 hours per week, while 23% work 40+ hours per week. Those completing tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay) are most likely to work more than 40 hours per week.

    • People ages 55+ want to spend more time on side gigs in the next year, with other age groups wanting to keep their hours about the same.

    • The majority (30%) of side gigs account for less that $100 of income per month, however 16% of people earn over $10,000 per month from gigs.

    • Property sharing is the most lucrative type of side gig, with the majority earning an income of $1,000 - $5,000 per month.

    • People are most likely to stick with one gig or app platform to complete work. Delivery (eg. Postmates, Grubhub, Instacart), tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay), and services (Zeel, Doctorondemand, Care.com) are most likely to use a variety of apps (4 - 6+).

    • The majority (40%) of those with side gigs also have a full-time job, but make less money than those who don’t have a job or schooling alongside their gig. 

    • Participating in the gig economy makes women and young people more happy than men or other age groups. People ages 45 - 54 are less happy about participating.

    • People completing freelance work (eg. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer) were most happy to participate in the gig economy, while those doing property sharing (eg. Airbnb, Getaround) and tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay) were least happy.

    • Those making less than $100 per month were generally more happy to be participating in the gig economy than those making over $10,000 per month.

Key findings of the survey

Less than 6% of people have side gigs

According to Dealspotr’s 2018 Gig Economy survey, over 94% of people in the U.S. haven’t hopped aboard the side gig train yet - meaning only a little over 5% have even picked up a job other than their day job to earn income or pursue a passion.

Among those that had a side gig, driving (eg. Uber, Lyft) is the most popular employer across all age groups - and 46% of those that drive tend to stick to just 1 app. Males are more likely than females to have a side gig.

Side gigs/freelancing are the most popular with people between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by the 18 - 24 age range. Those aged 65+ are the least likely to have a side job.

Almost ¼ of people with side gigs work full-time hours or more

Of the respondents that did indicate that they have a side gig(s), 23% of people indicated that they work 40+ hours per week at their gig(s) - not so much a side gig anymore, but a full-time job, capable of becoming their main source of income.

However, the largest number of respondents (45%) indicated that they spend less than 10 hours per week on their gigs.  

 

People who complete tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay) are most likely to work 40+ hours per week.

People ages 55+ want to spend more time on side gigs in the next year

By this time next year, we’re most likely going to see about the same amount of time spent on side gigs by those who do them - 46% indicated they would not be changing the amount of time spent on side gigs in the next year.

However, in the 55 - 64 age group, as well as 65+, the majority said that they’d be allocating more time to side gigs in the next year.

The majority of side gigs account for less that $100 of income per month

When it comes to income, 30% of those with side gigs make less than $100 per month from their gig(s). 17% of people make $100-500 per month on side gigs, and 16% of people make over $10,000 per month from their side gig.

Most common income per month by type of gig:

  • Driving (eg. Uber, Lyft): Less than $100

  • Freelancing (eg. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer): Less than $100

  • Property sharing (eg. Airbnb, Getaround): $1,000 - $5,000

  • Delivery (eg. Postmates, Grubhub, Instacart): Less than $100

  • Tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay): Less than $100, followed closely by More than $10,000

  • Services (Zeel, Doctorondemand, Care.com): Less than $100

People are most likely to stick with 1 gig app or platform

When it comes to the different apps and platforms freelancers can use to make money, 41% say they like to stick to one app or platform.

The majority of those with side gigs also have a full-time job

A majority (40%) of those with a side gig also have a full-time job, and 15% attend school full-time. 22% of people do not have a regular full-time job or part-time job, and aren’t attending school at all while working at their side gig. This could mean that their side gig is their main source of income.

Those who have a regular full-time or part-time job or attend school full-time alongside their gig make less money than those who are attending school part time, or have no job or schooling to attend.

Participating in the gig economy makes women, young people more happy than men, other age groups

While the overall sentiment (41%) is that participating in the gig economy makes them feel neither more happy or less happy, there’s only one group that feels less happy about it: 45- to 54-year-olds.

45- to 54-year-old sentiment about participating in the gig economy:


People between the ages of 18 - 34 and 55 - 64 are more happy as a result of participating in the gig economy, while those between 35 - 44 and 65+ are about the same.


Overall, females are generally more happy to participate in the gig economy, while males feel about the same.

Female sentiment about participating in the gig economy:

People completing freelance work (eg. Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer) were most happy to participate in the gig economy, while those doing property sharing (eg. Airbnb, Getaround) and tasks (eg. TaskRabbit, DogVacay) were least happy.

Those making less than $100 per month were generally more happy to be participating in the gig economy than those making over $10,000 per month.

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This guide was published on April 23, 2018, and last modified on April 23, 2018.

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