The emergence of the gig economy, where people abandon traditional 9 to 5 employment in favour of working independently on a task-by-task basis, has seen incredible growth in Australia in recent years. Many Australian workers can expect a more varied career path with the rise of contract, temp and freelance work, and perceive the gig economy to be a great alternative or supplement to full-time employment.
Workers benefit from flexibility, autonomy and incremental income, whilst companies have an ability to tap into a fluid workforce that is adaptive to change. Possibly the most ubiquitous example of this is Uber, but other established examples include Ebay, Gumtree, Airbnb, and Sidekicker.
An Australian-based illustration of a successful gig economy company is Airtasker, which allows people and businesses to outsource tasks. Airtasker has demonstrated not only exponential growth, but also creative solutions to the challenges that arise from the gig economy.
Airtasker has gone from strength-to-strength in the past three years, showing significant and sustained growth in online traffic. In April 2018, the site received over 1.2 million Total Visits.
Source – Hitwise CI April 2015 – April 2018
Not only has Airtasker seen incredible online growth, but they have also enjoyed an impressive number of downloads of their app, with a total of 26,454 installs across both the App and Play stores for the 4 weeks ending 12th May.
Source – Hitwise AV app installs 4 weeks ending 12/05/2018
Getting Ahead of Public Concern
Awareness of the gig economy has grown, but the conversation has also begun to shift towards whether this system is beneficial or detrimental to those involved in this new way of working. As you can see in some of the search terms below, public opinion reflects a variety of concerns and questions about the potential long-term costs for workers.
• 7. ‘Whether the gig economy is good for business’
• 11.‘Whether the gig economy is bad for business’
• 15. ‘Laws surrounding gig economy Australia’
• 18. ‘The growing gig economy underclass’
Source – Hitwise CI Searches 12 weeks ending 19/05/2018 vs 20/05/2017
With the tide turning, companies wanting to protect both their brand and their workforce need to be at the forefront of self-regulation. Big players like Deliveroo and Airtasker are taking steps to solve some of these public concerns; for example Airtasker provides personal accident insurance for all tasks booked through their platform.
The largest Airtasker audience is older Millennials, 25-34 year olds, but the site is most over-indexed for 55-64 year olds.
Airtasker Audience Age
The Airtasker audience generally represents a more affluent segment, with both the largest and most over-indexed household income group being those making over $150,000 per year.
Airtasker Audience Income
Source – Hitwise AV 12 weeks ending 19/05/2018
Partnering with Traditional Brands
Looking at keywords driving traffic to Airtasker, it is interesting to note the prevalence of terms including the word ‘delivery’. This bodes well for Airtasker’s recent partnerships with Ikea and Coles, which offer customers assistance with grocery shopping, delivery and the dreaded flatpack furniture assembly. It also exhibits that the gig and traditional economies aren’t necessarily in direct competition with each other, and can even share a synergistic relationship.
Hitwise capabilities allow us to explore the audience overlap between different brand websites, giving insight into the shared and exclusive audiences of each site. Looking into the overlap between Airtasker and Ikea, we see over one third (37.29%) of Airtasker’s audience also visited Ikea in the past 24 weeks, and Ikea’s audience is 2.5 x more likely to visit Airtasker than the average Australian online population.
We have also seen an increase in the amount of traffic being referred from Airtasker to Coles since the announcement that their NSW trial is now being rolled out nationally, suggesting the partnership is resonating in market — and also leading to more business opportunities for Coles.
Clicks to Coles.com.au from Airtasker.com
This demonstrates how creative partnerships offer established brands the opportunity to collaborate with (and leverage the growth of) gig economy companies, in order to support customer convenience and experience.
Airtasker certainly has challenges ahead, but it also offers an example of how a gig economy company can support both contract workers and traditional brands. By tapping into reserves of flexible, capable workers, gig economy companies can offer valuable supplementary services for established organisations. No matter what the future holds, there’s no question that any successful gig economy business must build strong ties within the community, which support both individuals, workers and other businesses.