In this chart, you can see how popular the sharing economy actually is (INFOGRAPHIC)
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The Lyft mustache. Photo Credit: Praiselightmedia / Creative Commons

This chart, which analyzes customer reviews of the top 48 sharing economy apps, shows mixed, surprising results

Last week, Applause, an Israeli app quality assurance company, conducted a comprehensive analysis of customer feedback on the 48 most popular U.S. sharing economy apps. Based on app store review counts, the brands that qualified included famous companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit, among others.

Despite the seemingly obvious win-win of the sharing economy, in which one party can make money by offering underused goods or services to another – and the fact that the sharing economy’s revenues are expected to increase more than 20 times in the next 10 years – the study’s results were not exactly glowing.

Image Credit: Applause

Image Credit: Applause

Judged individually on a 100-point scale, the 48 apps together received an average quality score of only 59. To break this down, six brands that had more than 1,000 reviews, such as Kickstarter, Etsy and Couchsurfing, received unimpressive scores of less than 50. Notably Uber, the international icon of collaborative consumption that may be soon valued at $50 billion, scored 67 for its iOS app and a mere 51 for its Android app.

Rent the Runway, Waze and Twice are among the small handful of eight apps with over 1,000 reviews that fared well, receiving scores of 70 or above.

For the other apps, the relatively low scores may signal the hotly contested issues around the sharing economy. As an online community that offers short-term housing in personal residences, Airbnb has proved its potential to negatively impact hotel revenues. Uber, the platform in which private cars become public resources, seems to have met criticism at every turn. Sexual assault accusations, legal obstacles and violations of local transport laws have caused Uber to be banned in numerous cities across the map. Moreover, the need for trust metrics the peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace, alongside an apparent decline in trust among adults, may explain the dearth of enthusiasm in the Applause analysis.

Another factor that likely affects’ these apps’ low ratings is the simple fact that the workers of these companies are people, not professionals. The drive to the bottom on platforms such as freelancer marketplace Elance, which scored the lowest (10), explains customers’ unfavorable reactions. While Fiverr scores much higher, at 70, it still shows that while companies may be enticed to buy services on the cheap, in contracting, there are no free meals.

On the flip side, the apps that scored the highest were companies that ultimately created new services, not just disrupted existing ones: Tilt lets you collect money from a group of people; Rent the Runway lets the average person rent a runway-quality dress and the ability to choose from thousands of designers; Shyp picks up, packages, and ships stuff for you to anywhere in the world; and last but not least, Waze created the smartest way to beat traffic by relying on the wisdom of the crowd.

All these new services, in addition to the affordability and ease that many of these platforms provide (even if the services are not performed in the most exemplary of manners), help us understand why a quarter of the population in the U.S., UK and Canada is participating in the sharing economy. In spite of the controversy and mixed reviews, the P2P marketplace will undoubtedly grow because at the end of the day, people like cheap, convenient things.

Featured Image Credit: Praiselightmedia / Creative Commons

Laura Rosbrow contributed reporting. 

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Jenna Shapiro

About Jenna Shapiro


Jenna is a summer Geektime reporter and editor, and a student at Stanford University. She has a penchant for cool ideas and slightly crazy people, perhaps evident in her move from the Silicon Valley to Tel Aviv. As an English major who finds herself in tech hubs, she aims to change the world through tech and Steinbeck.

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