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It’s widely accepted that Millennials have a powerful impact on American economy, politics, and everyday life. After all, the Millennial generation is the largest generation in U.S. history, comprising of 92 million people, which is significantly larger than Generation X (born 1965-1975) and the Baby Boomers (born 1945-1964). As Millennials reach their prime working and spending years as the key consumer demographic, with the youngest Millennials soon being eligible to vote, they are without doubt poised to disrupt the economy and its traditional ways of conducting business. With the rise of giant sharing economy startups, such as Airbnb and Uber, which have gained massive traction over the years, Millennials are reshaping the way people think about and interact with each other in a very unique way.
An interesting trend that seems to be characteristic of Millennials is a shift away from fixed ownership and towards a system of shared access. Instead of prioritizing buying expensive, big ticket items like houses and cars, Millennials are generally focused on the experience of collective use of resources. The far-reaching influence that Millennials have in driving the sharing economy is clearly visible via the disruption of traditional industries like taxi and real estate by businesses like Lyft, Zipcar, and Airbnb that are established around the sharing of resources. In fact, roughly half of American travelers had reported in a survey that they planned to use sharing economy services, including Airbnb and Uber, for summer travel in 2017. Moreover, to really illustrate this huge shift in mindset caused by Millennials, a study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) found that 57 percent of Americans agree “access is the new ownership.” This highlights a new socio-economic attitude about consumerism that reevaluates the value of traditional forms of ownership.
As we’ve established, Millennials grew up during a unique age of technological innovation and rapid changes in the U.S. economy. With sizable amounts of student debt stacking up in the midst of a competitive job market and an unstable economy, Millennials see ownership and major purchases of luxury goods as unessential, cumbersome commitments. Looking at the sharing economy from a homeownership perspective, Millennials are exploring new and different avenues that open up access to housing without the burdens of private ownership. According to Goldman Sachs, of those Millennials aged 18-34, a growing number are choosing to live at home with their parents. The study indicates the average peak home-buying years has almost doubled from 25 years old to 45 years, as owning property is not typically seen as a prime concern in this generation’s hierarchy of needs. Correspondingly, instead of making major purchases in real estate, a large majority of Millennials are opting to rent, giving rise to what’s being called the “renter generation.”
There’s no doubt that Millennials are the key drivers behind the sharing economy. But the true forces that are really motivating this phenomenon are affordability and convenience. This is the real reason why the sharing economy has gained immense popularity over the past few years. Simply put, it is a convenient and cost-effective way to access various assets and make easy money.
Pillow is positioned to address the pain points of those Millennial renters who want to be able to open their doors to travellers and earn income. Pillow’s value propositions dig deep into the culture of the sharing economy, targeting the core values that resonate with Millennials. Pillow enables residents to host compliant short-term rentals, allowing them to afford the ever-increasing cost of rent and living – this is all the while ensuring maximum convenience and efficiency by removing the hassle in hosting guests on Airbnb.
As more consumers become comfortable with the idea of a sharing economy, Pillow along with other community-based startups are bound to have a profound impact on the traditional multifamily and real estate industries.
Written by Harry Lee · October 16, 2017