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Survey Finds App-Based Work Crucial to Mitigate Inflation; Majority Prefer to Remain Independent


May 1, 2023


New Survey Finds App-Based Work Crucial to Helping Millions of Americans Deal with Inflation; Overwhelming Majority of App-Based Earners Prefer to Keep Independent Contractor Status

Data Shows the Widespread Appeal of App-Based Work across Geographic Areas and Educational Levels

Washington, D.C. – App-based platforms have significantly helped earners and consumers across the country, according to a new survey of more than 10,000 Americans released by Morning Consult and commissioned by Flex - the association representing the voice of the app-based economy.

Key findings include:

  • App-based Work Helps Earners Tackle Inflation. 85% of app-based earners nationwide say that their earnings have helped them deal with inflation-based rising costs.

  • Parents Greatly Benefit from App-based Platforms. 85% of parents with children nationwide have used app-based platforms, and adults are 2.5x more likely to use app-based platforms frequently if they have children under 18.

  • Communities of Color Frequently Use and Value App-Based Platforms. 81% of Hispanic and 75% of Black adults have used app-based platforms (compared to 70% of white adults), while 75% of Hispanic and 69% of Black adults say app-based platforms are valuable to their daily lives (compared to 62% of white adults).

In addition, the survey highlights why the push to reclassify most app-based earners as W-2 employees is misguided.

  • App-Based Earners Overwhelmingly Prefer Independence. Three out of every four app-based earners prefer maintaining their independent contractor status. This is true across diverse demographic groups: 76% of white, 73% of Hispanic, and 72% of Black app-based earners support maintaining the current classification.

  • Competition for App-Based Earners is Intense. 81% of app-based workers have used more than one app in any given work period to maximize their earnings.

  • App-Based Work is Largely Supplemental. Nearly two-thirds of app-based earners spend 15 or fewer hours/week earning income on app-based platforms, and roughly half of app-based earners make less than 1/4th of their overall income from apps.

“These findings illustrate the crucial role the app-based economy plays in helping millions earn income and live their lives each day. In the face of skyrocketing inflation, these opportunities for supplemental income are crucial to millions of American workers,” said Flex CEO Kristin Sharp. “Policymakers should listen to app-based earners and support this diverse, independent workforce with frameworks that allow–and foster–the flexibility of app-based work.”

The survey also addresses a multitude of misperceptions regarding the app-based economy, with results showing that:

  • The App-Based Economy Is Booming in Rural and Suburban Areas. Despite the visible growth of the app-based economy in large cities, the majority (52%) of current app-based earners live and operate in rural/suburban areas. 30% of adults in rural areas have earned income on app-based platforms, and 6 out of 10 adults in rural areas have used app-based platforms as customers.

  • Most App-Based Earners Have Health Insurance. 88% of current app-based earners are already covered by private or public health insurance, which mirrors the percentage of all respondents.

  • App-based Earning Appeals to Americans of All Education Levels. 42% of adults with post-graduate education have earned supplemental income on app-based platforms, as have 34% of those with a bachelor’s degree and 35% of those without a college degree.

Methodology. This nationwide poll was conducted online from April 5-12, 2023 among a sample of 10,011 adults. State-level results are estimated by a multi-level regression and post-stratification (MRP) model weighted by age, race/ethnicity, gender, and educational attainment within each state. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point. The data were then subset to Adults Who Have Ever Been an App-Based Worker as well as Adults Who Are Currently App-Based Workers. The subsets of data represent 3,578 Adults Who Have Ever Been an App-Based Worker and 2,246 Adults Who Are Currently App-Based Workers. All Adults Who Are Currently App-Based Workers are included as part of the sample of Adults Who Have Ever Been an App-Based Worker. Results from both subsets have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

About Flex. Flex is the voice of the app-based economy, representing America's leading app-based rideshare and delivery platforms and the people who count on them. Our member companies—DoorDash, Grubhub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Shipt, and Uber—help provide access to crucial goods and services to customers safely and efficiently, offer flexible earning opportunities to workers, and support economic growth in communities across the country. Together, we advocate for policies that enable our industry to continue delivering for the people who count on our platforms.


Date: 04/28/2023
Category: Flex Insights