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Markets and Economy

The Online Platform Economy in 2018

New research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute analyzes payment data directed through 128 different online platforms to reveal how these technological innovations are impacting the way people work and earn money today.
October 19, 2018

Technological innovation is transforming economic exchange. Just a decade ago, the online platform economy comprised a handful of marketplaces connecting independent sellers to buyers of physical goods. Today, many consumers use software platforms to procure almost any kind of good or service from independent suppliers as a routine part of daily life. Have these innovations created viable new options for making a living?

In its latest research, the JPMorgan Chase Institute analyzes 38 million payments directed through 128 different online platforms in four sectors of the online platform economy: transportation, non-transport work, selling and leasing.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • The online platform economy has continued to grow. Between 2013 and 2018, transportation platforms have grown to dominate in terms of both the number of participants and total transaction volume.
  • Most participants in the online platform economy are active in just a few months out of the year.
  • The growth in the supply of drivers has come alongside a 53 percent decline in average transportation earnings.
  • Platform earnings represent a major source of income for families in the months they participate but only 20 percent of income among those who participated at any point in the prior year.


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