20 Surprising Stats About the Gig Economy

20 Surprising Stats About the Gig/Freedom/Freelance Economy

More than a fourth of the U.S. is now officially part of the freelance gig economy, a recent report indicates. In the future, more and more people of all ages and ethnicity will declare their independence from the 9-to-5 daily corporate grind for the freedom, autonomy and self-determination that the freelance, gig economy lifestyle brings.

So says a new report from Spera, a provider of tools and resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs. It contains the following rather surprising statistics about what it refers to as the “freedom economy.”

You might find these to be of particular interest if you’re considering throwing off the corporate cloak to take on the freelance mantle.

Gig/Freedom/Freelance Economy Statistics

U.S. Statistics

One in three Americans is a freelancer, making the sector a critical part of the labor market.

  • Nearly 54 million Americans participated in some form of independent work in 2015. That’s more than 33 percent of the entire U.S. workforce and is an increase of 700,000 workers over the previous year.
  • Some researchers project that half of the working U.S. population will move into the gig economy within the next five years.
  • About 1 in 12 U.S. households — more than 10 million people — rely on independent work for more than half of
    their income.

Global Statistics

The U.S. isn’t the only place where the gig economy is thriving; the same phenomena is occurring across the globe.

  • Half of the United Kingdom’s working population will be self-employed in the next five years, estimates say.
  • The European Union saw a 45 percent increase in the number of independent workers from 2012 to 2013.
  • Independent workers comprise the fastest growing group in the European Union labor market.
  • India’s independent workforce, the second largest in the world at 15 million, fills about 40 percent of the world’s freelance jobs.

Economic Impact of Independent Workforce

Not only is the size of the independent workforce growing, but so is its contribution to the economy.

Data from online talent marketplaces like Upwork and OneSpace show that independent workers generated more than 1.1 trillion dollars in total revenue in the United States alone in 2014.

Millennials in the Gig Economy

Although the gig economy spans all age groups, Millennials make up the largest portion.

  • More than one-third of Millennials are independent workers.
  • In 2015, Millennials became the largest demographic age group in the workforce.
  • 32 percent of Millennials believe they will be working “mainly flexible hours” in the future.

Technology as the Driving Force

Technology has made it easier than ever before to enter the gig economy.

Mobile devices have untethered workers from their desks; social media now connects people across borders, and online freelance marketplaces make finding work easier.

  • 87 percent of Millennials say their smartphone never leaves their side, night or day.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) use personal smartphones for work (vs. 18 percent for older generations).
  • Some 41 percent are likely to download applications to use for work purposes in the next 12 months and use their own money to pay for them.
  • 80 percent use social media as a means of finding work.

Challenges Freelancers Face

As appealing as the “freedom economy” sounds, significant challenges have to be faced that include marketing, cash flow, business management and healthcare costs.

  • 63 percent of those interviewed in the report say marketing is the most important expense to grow their business.
  • 57 percent report experiencing cash flow issues at times during the year.
  • 64 percent use some form of project management software.
  • 70 percent use software to track finances.
  • 40 percent prefer to get paid via direct deposit versus other forms (e.g., check, PayPal).


Millions of people around the globe are opting for greater independence in their work lives. As a result, they are joining the growing movement that is the gig economy. Advances in technology have made it easier to accomplish than ever before.

Though it is not without challenges, more and more people are finding that the rewards of the gig economy outweigh the risks and that the lifestyle it offers provides the kinds of freedom and independence they could never experience in the corporate world.

Download the Spera report, to learn more.

Freelancer Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “20 Surprising Stats About the Gig Economy” was first published on Small Business Trends

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New Product Sunscreenr Shows Where Sun Damage Can Occur

sunscreenr featured

As you apply sunscreen before you go outside or spend the afternoon at the beach, how sure are you that you have covered all of the areas that will be exposed to the sun? Sunscreenr is a small and lightweight viewer that lets you see where your skin is covered or not covered by sunscreen.

Currently Sunscreenr is in a funding campaign on Indiegogo and it has more than doubled its initial goal, so there is a great chance you will see it in retail and online outlets if all goes well.

The Sunscreenr is the brain child of David Cohen, who was driven to create this device after watching a family member struggle with skin cancer. He put his PhD in biochemistry as well as his experience in developing products for consumer, defense, forensics, medical device and life science research markets to work developing this product with co-founder Jon Meyer.

So how Does Sunscreenr Work?

After you apply your sunscreen, you use the device to view your body. The areas that have the right amount of coverage will be dark. Any light areas, which can vary in darkness, are an indication that you don’t have any sunscreen or need to apply some more. If you are alone, Sunscreenr has a 30 second recording and playback feature that lets you see the spots you missed.

The device works by removing all light except the spectrum sunscreen absorbs using a special filter. The lens, which is made from special materials, along with a sensor are able to respond to UV light.  This hardware was then combined with the company’s propriety image processing algorithms to show where you have sunscreen.

At only three ounces and measuring 3 1/3″ x 1.5″ x 1.5″ the device is compact enough to carry anywhere. It has a rugged sealed construction with an Ingress Protection or IP rating of 67, a rating indicating sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures and will be tested to military standards of 810g-516.6. This means even dust as fine as talcum powder can’t get into it. The water proofing capability allows it to be underwater up to three feet for 30 min without  damage.

The Sunscreenr’s controls are easily identifiable, and once it is fully charged through the micro USB port, you can use it all weekend long. It also has a tripod/selfie stick mount for when you are alone.

Skin Cancer

According to the company, most people only apply 25 percent to 50 percent of the sunscreen that is needed to protect them from the ravages of sun light. Even when it is applied properly, it can wear off with sweat, swimming, or toweling off.

The American Cancer Society says cancer of the skin is the most common of all cancers, but it is also the most preventable. Still if blemishes on the skin are not identified early and properly diagnosed, they can eventually lead to melanoma. The organization estimates there will be around 76,380 new melanomas diagnosed (about 46,870 in men and 29,510 in women) in the United States in 2016, with 10,130 people expected to die from the desease (about 6,750 men and 3,380 women).

You can go to the Indiegogo page and get a Sunscreenr in five different colors for $93. And if you want more than one, you can get two for $175 and 10 of them for $800.

Sunscreenr isn’t simply a good business idea in and of itself. It could also provide some great opportunities for other small businesses during the rest of the scorching hot summer months.

For small businesses that are located at beaches, parks or other outdoor locations, this can be a great way to offer a free service to your customers by quickly scanning them and letting them know how well protected they are.

Image: Sunscreenr/David Cohen

This article, “New Product Sunscreenr Shows Where Sun Damage Can Occur” was first published on Small Business Trends