The Asymmetric Age Distribution of Users in the Sharing Economy

Dorje Worpa & Michel Hoffmann

Student thesis: Master thesis


The prevalent asymmetric age distribution in the Sharing Economy has been acknowledged by researchers. Although literature vastly emphasizes on the motivations and intentions to Sharing Economy participation, the research of attitudinal differences across age groups has been neglected. To contribute to academia, this paper investigated how attitudes towards the Sharing Economy differ across age groups and why divergent views prevail. Thereupon, sharing platforms are given recommendations to cultivate inclusiveness with regard to age. This is done by conducting an online survey in the setting of a descripto-explanatory study with a pragmatic approach delimited to the Greater Copenhagen area.
The findings reveal that younger individuals regard the Sharing Economy more positively than their older counterparts. In particular, the positive attitude towards the Sharing Economy among younger peers is attributed to economic advantages and the positive ecological impacts associated with the Sharing Economy. In contrast, concerns over negative externalities and the lack of technological capabilities affect the attitude towards the Sharing Economy negatively among the elderly. To alleviate these impediments to Sharing Economy participation, we recommend sharing platforms to consider offline access to their services and closer collaboration with regulators in order to attract older users and thus foster age-related inclusiveness within the sharing community.
We believe that the inclusion of the elderly in the Sharing Economy evokes reciprocal benefits. By joining the sharing community, seniors are exposed to social interactions more frequently while sharing platforms may extend their provider base to wealthier individuals.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages122