Poll: Average Americans Aren’t Aware of Crowdfunding

Innovation is something that many of us take for granted these days. At the same time technology is also something that certain sectors fear as companies with better models that take advantage of innovation to disrupt existing businesses. This is definitely the case when it comes to FinTech. The rising sharing economy encompasses a broad range of business models, including ride sharing, room rentals, and crowdfunding among many others.  While these ideas and platforms have become more mainstream over the past few years it seems that there is still a long way to go in terms of awareness and getting everyday people on board.

A new study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that the majority of Americans aren’t familiar with terms like “crowdfunding” or “the sharing economy.” Of the 4,787 adults surveyed only 39% claimed they had ever heard the term crowdfunding. Furthermore 73% had not heard of the sharing economy while 89% were unfamiliar with the gig economy.

Despite the rather low awareness of crowdfunding in general 22% of those surveyed report contributing to fundraisers on sites like Kickstarter (for projects and products) or GoFundMe (for charitable causes). Additionally 3% have even launched their own crowdfunding campaigns. Incidentally the top use for this technology is to fund other technology with 34% of donors saying they helped fund inventions or new products.

Another large subset of the gig economy are ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft. The good news is that Pew found that 15% of Americans have not utilized such services. On the other hand nearly one-third of those surveyed had never even heard of these apps. Similarly, while 11% of subjects reported used Airbnb or similar home-sharing sites, nearly half were completely unfamiliar with the concept.

One aspect of ride-sharing that FinTech companies can definitely relate to is the debate over regulation. Interestingly 48% of respondents said that they had heard about ride-sharing services in connection with news stories and the fights between ride companies and certain municipalities. However those surveyed were split on which side of the issue they stood on. 42% stated that Lyft and Uber should not face the same regulations as cab companies while 35% thought they should have the same rules (the remaining 23% were undecided). Among those who have used ride-sharing services there was slightly more of a consensus, as 57% say that ride sharing companies should not be regulated like taxis.

There’s no doubt that the sharing economy is gaining popularity and revolutionizing a number of industries. Still this research from Pew highlights how much room there is for ride-sharing companies, crowdfunding sites, and other sharing economy platforms to grow. When it comes to FinTech and other innovative companies, the disruption has only begun.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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