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A Generational View of Gig Economy Trends

A Generational View of Gig Economy Trends

The gig economy has become an integral part of life and transformed how people of all generations consume services from food delivery to ridesharing. The TransUnion Spring 2024 Gig Economy Report explored how different generations have embraced the gig economy, revealing valuable insights tied to user spend, frequency, behavior and fraud sentiments. In this blog post, we’ll explore how consumers are using gig services and how their behaviors impact gig platforms.

Gen Z and Millennials: Power users of the gig economy

Being the most tech-savvy and mobile-friendly consumers, it’s not surprising Millennials and Gen Z are the pioneers of the gig economy, using gig services multiple times a week. In fact, 47% of gig users are Millennials. And while Gen X and Baby Boomers have been less engaged compared to their younger counterparts, more and more within these older generations are starting to tap into gig services.

Looking at demographics of gig platform power users, there are some interesting differences between generations:

  • Geographic: More (60%) Millennial users live in urban areas, with the remainder being an even split between suburban and rural. The picture is different for Gen Z: just 40% live in urban areas followed by 36% living in rural areas and 25% in the suburbs.
  • Income: The income levels of Millennials are evenly split among high, middle and low. Interestingly, more than half of Gen Z users are low-income consumers.  
  • Gender: Those who identify as female make up the large majority (70%) of Gen Z gig users, but the gender split becomes more even in older generations where 43% of Millennials identify as female.

Convenience at the core

Despite generational differences in technology adoption and amount of use, one common thread binds all age groups: The desire for convenience. Across all generations, convenience and access to services were most frequently listed as top reasons for choosing to use a gig service — while cost was far and away the main factor when determining which gig platform to use. Cost and specifically fees were top of mind for consumers of all generations but especially important to older cohorts.

Impact of discretionary spending on the gig economy

Millennials and Gen Z led consumer spend with about a third of each group spending between $250‒$650 per month on gig services. Baby Boomers lagged far behind with just 7% having spent the same amount.

According to TransUnion’s most recent report, consumers planned to increase discretionary spending by 20% this year, which is poised to impact the gig economy. Thriving on discretionary income, gig platforms may benefit as consumers feel more freedom to spend on conveniences.

 Younger generations: More vulnerable to fraud

Not only are younger generations power users of gig platforms, they’re also more likely to be victims of fraud in the gig economy. Surprisingly, higher rates of fraud don’t deter them: These younger users tend to show a lack of concern about falling victim. While Millennials are most likely (34%) to be victimized by fraud or scams, only 25% were concerned about fraud or identity theft when using gig platforms.

Having grown up with technology, younger participants may have a higher level of trust in digital platforms and view fraud as an unavoidable risk of using online services. Across all generations, stolen credit cards/fraudulent charges were the most common type of fraud consumers experienced with identity theft running a close second.

Trust and safety: Users expect platforms to protect their identities

Regardless of generation, the large majority (more than 75%) said they’d likely switch to a different platform if their accounts were compromised, or they experienced fraud (compared to 90% of Baby Boomers). This highlights the glaring need for gig economy platforms to build trust and safety into their processes and user journeys.

In addition to verifying consumer identities during onboarding, additional strategies — such as evaluation of device risk and past connections to fraud; enhanced user authentication techniques (including one-time passcodes, device-based authentication, and the like); and authenticated communications — can be leveraged to build trust and safety into platforms.

When these strategies are leveraged in a way that doesn’t introduce unnecessary friction, trustworthy consumers get the more streamlined and secure user experiences they deserve.

In addition, when you can verify consumer identities with confidence, it helps mitigate fraud risk early and fosters customer trust and loyalty — while outmaneuvering bad actors.

What platforms can do to succeed in a competitive space

Understanding consumers’ generational differences can help you customize services and messaging to the unique needs of various demographics. With greater insight into consumer spending patterns and preferences, generational audience segmentation, and consumer expectations around trust and safety, you can create powerful offerings, relevant messaging and pleasing onboarding experiences for increased growth and customer satisfaction in an ever-changing landscape.


Read the full Spring 2024 Gig Economy Report


Learn more about:

Fraud solutions that help block criminals and provide exceptional user experiences for trusted consumers.

Identity verification to build trust and promote safety by using robust and actionable consumer profiles to quicken onboarding — and better mitigate risk.

High-performance audiences to grow your user base through personalization and customized marketing.


Do you have questions? Our team is ready to help.