The gig economy business model serves as a way to focus on consumers as business changes are often driven by consumer demand. Consumers seek innovations such as frictionless delivery and personalisation, which requires a workforce with different skill sets.

Listed below are the key consumer trends impacting the gig economy in consumer theme, as identified by GlobalData.

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Price consciousness

The pursuit of value has been enduring, elevated by events such as the 2008 global financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. Such events have prompted consumers to re-evaluate their spending and consider new products, brands, routines, and channels that can help them save money.

The rise of the sharing economy has facilitated the exchange of consumer products that can help to provide cheaper solutions and permit quick access to goods and services. Cost-saving benefits in the industry, however, are most relevant to providers who can share the costs of resources such as a store or kitchen rental or generate additional income by providing delivery or cooking services.


Extensive automation will drastically change the tasks companies delegate to contractors as well as how contractors complete that work. The main issue will be whether companies deploy automation in support of workers, or workers in support of automation. Ridesharing app, Uber, has widely publicised its plans to replace human drivers with self-driving cars and invested more than $1bn into the research of autonomous vehicles.

Automation is expected to eliminate many types of employment but replace some of those with more high-paying and high-skilled roles. Independent contractors will, therefore, hold a degree of leverage to choose which jobs they want to take, while also being able to negotiate better wages. The gig economy provides a useful source of workers that can fill roles quickly from a company’s perspective without the bureaucracy of full-time employment. Furthermore, artificial intelligence (AI) will fill the role of simple monotonous tasks, providing contractors with more opportunities in desirable skill sets like software development.

Rise of “on-demand” services

Smartphone ubiquity and familiarity with ecommerce have facilitated the rise of the “talent economy.” This enables companies such as Fiverr, Instacart, Lyft, and 99Designs to offer workers on-demand services in a wide range of areas, from ridesharing to graphic design.

Ridesharing and food delivery has been boosted by busy consumer lifestyles that have prompted heightened desires for convenience and immediate services. The rise of “on-demand” services has enabled some workers to gain a “gig” on top of full-time employment, allowing people to work flexibly at a time that suits them.

This is an edited extract from the Gig Economy in Consumer – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.