Fearless Trailblazers are the most active sharers, not because of strong ideological beliefs, but because they lead innovative, connected, and digital lifestyles. They’re more likely to engage with relatively unknown sharing brands and more likely to believe that sharing will play a major role in the future. They’re aware that the sharing economy can mean valuing profit over convenience and community. And they know some sharing activities may cross into legal grey zones and they may need to “use it until they lose it.” They are younger, more urban, and more ethnic than other groups.
Natural Do-Gooders see the sharing economy as a more idealistic and virtuous way to live: it fosters more human connectivity, advances environmental sustainability, and creates a platform for doing good. Practically, they believe it’s more convenient and may save them more money. They’re leaders in more traditional sharing: buying and selling used items, lending and borrowing with family and friends, and donating to charitable organizations. They skew female, suburban, and more politically liberal than other groups.
Reluctant Pragmatists take a practical approach towards sharing. To make it through tough times, they buy and sell online and purchase used items from garage sales and consignment shops. They share experiences online and seek input before acting. They don’t share because it’s a nobler way of life; rather, they share as a practical necessity. For them, the sharing economy is fraught with risk. They would own than share products. They are primarily women who live below the median US household income.
Supportive Sideliners' attitudes don’t synch with their behaviors. They believe that the sharing economy benefits society theoretically, but they fail to put this knowledge to practice. Their philosophy can be summed up as: “sharing for thee, but not for me.” Their forays into sharing are mostly limited to digital media, online feedback, and occasionally borrowing from family and friends. They don’t deal with used goods or interact much with strangers and sharing plays a minor role in their lives. This group is composed of politically liberal women and is more suburban and upscale than other groups.
Cautious Consumerists are the least likely to participate in the sharing economy, other than Disengaged Outsiders. They over-index in activities like renting cars and videos and downloading music, but all other activities are below average. They don’t see the value in community benefits, time and money involved, or the social good. And they’re concerned about privacy violations, identity compromises, and the general dangers of used goods. They derive real joy from ownership, and love to shop and engage with products. They are more heavily suburban, upscale and the most politically conservative.
Disengaged Outsiders is the largest segment making up nearly 1/3 of the U.S. They minimally participate in the sharing economy. The only activities that more than 20% participate in are: donating to a charity, borrowing a book from the library, and using Wikipedia to look something up. They see no positive benefits to the sharing economy, so they see little reason to participate. Over half of them claim the sharing economy will play absolutely no role in their lives in the next twelve months. Demographically, they are more likely to be men and to have lower household incomes.