Murmurs have been rumbling through San Francisco and Silicon Valley as tech start-ups targeting the on-demand economy are struggling to secure investors and buyers. But that doesn't mean there should be widespread panic that this sector is failing. It's just growing up.
There have been an influx in apps like Uber, Airbnb, Luxe, and Doordash, all serving this on-demand economy where people can get what they want when they want it. In this Wired article, Davey Alba says there's a reason why some of these apps are struggling: there's a difference between on-demand utility and on-demand service.
The question ultimately becomes one of where consumers draw the line when it comes to paying for someone else do something for you. “Some people will be willing to pay a fee to free up, say, an hour of their time and do something else,” says Arun Sundararajan, a professor at NYU's Stern School of Business. He posits that the more we start thinking of on-demand services rather than big assets as the way to fulfill our needs—say, using Uber and Lyft rather than plunking down a down payment for a new car—the bigger the pot of money these on-demand companies can go after becomes.