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Fact versus fiction

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Digital technology has changed the way we consume goods and services and challenged us to consider the importance of access versus ownership.

In a survey of more than 1,000 consumers in the USA who were familiar with the sharing economy, many reported being enthusiastic about the potential of this type of exchange, once they had tried it.

But they also had concerns. Overall, 72% of people felt the sharing economy experience is not consistent and 69% said they wouldn't trust the sharing economy until it’s recommended by someone they trust.1

In other research, Gen Z reinforced the importance of background checks, for example, to guarantee their safety when they’re using ride sharing services. 63% of Gen Z cited it as one the top three most important things and 28% said it was the most important.2

Gen Z also reported caring more about a service provider having insurance than any other generation. In fact, 11% of Gen Z, nearly twice as many as the other generations surveyed, said the most important thing a sharing company can do to earn their trust is to have insurance for users.

Separating fact from fiction online is not always easy but it’s important to the younger generations. In the USA, a study of more than 1,200 people between the ages of 14 and 59 found Gen Z demand authenticity in their online interactions.3 41% said they want a guarantee that a person is who they say they are (particularly in the case of social and dating sites). A similar number of respondents (39%) want retailers to prove reviews are genuine. The results were similar for Millennials.

Graphic showing what makes online content trustworthy. Certified websites makes up 62%, reputation of the content publisher is 54%, shared by experts is 48% and reputation of the content owner is 48%

Source: World Economic Forum – Global Shapers Survey 2017


Researchers asked 35,000 young people from around the world about their views on fake news. They found respondents want the information available online to be factual and trustworthy and they’re mindful of the content they circulate.4 So how do they assess what they’re reading or watching?

The majority of people (62%) surveyed said content is trustworthy if it’s on ‘certified websites’. They also considered the reputation of the publisher (54%) and whether or not the information had been ‘shared by experts’ (48%). The ‘reputation of the content owner’ was also important (48%).

Graphic of a pie chart showing that 51% of Gen Z would disagree with a robot making a decision for them, 25% would agree and 24% would be natural

Source: World Economic Forum – Global Shapers Survey 2017

1.PwC – The Sharing Economy Report, 2015
2. The Center for Generational Kinetics and Jason Dorsey – iGen Tech Disruption Research, 2016
3. WP Engine – The Future of Digital Experiences: How Gen Z is Changing Everything, December 2016
4. World Economic Forum – Global Shapers Survey 2017