The success of the online gig economy has undoubtedly escalated since the beginning of the 21st century, with the digital age providing a platform for online businesses to take off and multiply significantly. If we have learnt anything from the growth of this industry, global footprint alone isn’t an indicator of a company’s financial capabilities. In 2019, Amazon Flex raked in a staggering USD$26.3 billion revenue, despite only operating in 9 countries.
To gain some perspective on the growth of the industry, comparethemarket.com.au has created an interactive table which reveals the growth of the ten largest publicly listed online gig platforms.
|Company and launch year||Countries of operation in 2019||Revenue in 2015||Revenue in 2016||Revenue in 2017||Revenue in 2018||Revenue in 2019|
|180+*[i]||Data not publicly available||Data not publicly available||Data not publicly available||$75.5 m[ii]
|Data not publicly available||$164.4 m||$202.6 m[iv]||$253.4 m
|71[v]||$2.0 bn||$3.8 bn||$7.9 bn[vi]
|$11.3 bn||$14.1 bn
|53[vii]||$38.6 m[viii]||$52.7 m[ix]||$50 m[x]
|44[xi]||$131.1 m||$335.3 m||$613.7 m
|39[xii]||$273.5 m||$365 m||$441.2 m
|$603.7 m[xiii]||$818.4 m
|24[xiv]||Data not publicly available||$49 m[xv]||$51 m
|16[xvii]||$138.7 m[xviii]||$161.8 m||$174.1 m
|$192.3 m [xix]
|Data not publicly available|
|Nine[xx]||Data not publicly available||Data not publicly available||$23.7 bn[xxi]
|Two[xxii]||Data not publicly available||$343 m [xxiii]
|$1.1 bn[xxiv]||$2.2 bn
*Not including countries restricted by law, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea (region of Ukraine), Cuba and individual nationals of Cuba (this changes occasionally).
A closer look at the data
- Fiverr. As a Global company, Fiverr is one of the largest publicly listed online gig companies by countries of operation, running in all countries except Iran, North Korea, Syria, Crimea & Cuba.[xxv] It is an agency network for users to find freelance jobs and workers. 2019 saw Fiverr bring in USD$107.1 million in revenue, which was a $31.6 million increase from the previous year.
- Upwork. With the same operation model and available countries as Fiverr, Upwork has had a steady growth in revenue from 2016 – 2019, averaging a $45 million increase each year.[xxvi] In 2019, Upwork made $300.6 million in revenue. Those are some impressive numbers considering the company only launched in 2015.
- Uber. A ride-hailing and ridesharing app that operates in 71 countries. Uber was launched in 2009 and showed a massive $4.1 billion leap in revenue from 2016 – 2017.[xxvii] In 2019, their revenue totalled $14.1 billion.
- Freelancer. Another agency network, Freelancer currently operates in 53 countries and has brought in $50 million+ in revenue each year since 2016.[xxviii] Although showing smaller year on year growth, the company still managed to bring in $58 million of revenue last year.
- Delivery Hero. This corporation giant operates in 44 countries[xxix] and runs multiple food order and delivery service companies under their name, such as Foodora and Deliveroo. Having launched in 2011, Delivery Hero has shown incredible growth in recent years, including a huge revenue leap of $649.2 million from 2018 to 2019.
- Etsy. This popular e-commerce site is available in 39 countries.[xxx] 2018 and 2019 have seen some of the best years for Etsy, where the annual revenue was $603.7 million and $818.4 million respectively.[xxxi]
- Zomato. Operating in 24[xxxii] countries, Zomato is primarily used for restaurant search and discovery. After showing smaller annual increases in revenue since launching in 2008, the platform jumped from $68 million in 2018 to $206 million last year.[xxxiii]
- Care.com. As an agency network for caregivers, Care.com was launched in 2007 and is available in 16 countries around the world.[xxxiv] Between 2016 – 2018, the company saw annual revenue growth that averaged around the $17.9 million mark.[xxxv]
- Amazon Flex. This delivery service was launched in 2015 and is currently operational in nine countries.[xxxvi] Despite being available in less locations, Amazon Flex still managed to rake in $26.3 billion in revenue for 2019.
- Lyft. A ride-hailing and ridesharing app that operates in only two countries,[xxxvii] Lyft turned its 2016 revenue of $343 million into an impressive $3.6 billion in just three years.[xxxviii]
What does this data tell us?
Despite the above data indicating a rapid expansion in the online gig economy, some argue that it’s difficult to predict how the future workforce will shape up.[xxxix] The presence of major gig companies arguably normalises job insecurity by boosting the phenomenon of insecure work.[xl]
Recent events such as COVID-19 have also seen dependence on the online gig economy expand immensely, especially for struggling restaurant owners.[xli] Increased demand for autonomous and flexible work has impacted the way companies organise their employees.[xlii]
Visit comparethemarket.com.au to see the full set of data, including a breakdown of annual revenue and the effects on the global economy.
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[ii] Fiverr – Fiverr Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Results: https://investors.fiverr.com/press-releases/press-releases-details/2020/Fiverr-Announces-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2019-Results/
[iii] Upwork – Eligibility to Join and Use Upwork: https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211067778-Eligibnity-to-Join-Upwork.
[iv] Upwork – Annual Report 2019: https://investors.upwork.com/index.php/static-files/707b75e1-f466-4798-9d1d-258198ce02a6
[vi] Uber – Uber: 2019 Annual Report: https://s23.q4cdn.com/407969754/files/doc_financials/2019/ar/Uber-Technologies-Inc-2019-Annual-Report.pdf
[vii] Freelancer – Choose your country or Region: https://www.freelancer.com/choose-your-country/?ngsw-bypass=&w=f
[viii] Freelancer – Freelancer Limited Financial Report & Directors’ Report: For the year ended 31 December 2016: https://www.freelancer.com.au/about/investor-pdf.php?id=41553344&name=FLN%20Financial%20Report%202016
[ix] Freelancer – Freelancer: Annual Report 2017: https://www.freelancer.com.au/about/investor-pdf.php?id=60161858&name=FREELANCER%20LIMITED%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202017
[x] Freelancer – Freelancer: Annual Report 2019: https://www.freelancer.com.au/about/investor-pdf.php?id=108258543&name=FLN%20LIMITED%20ANNUAL%20REPORT%202019%20FINAL%2024_04_20
[xi] Delivery Hero – Always Delivering an Amazing Experience: Annual Report 2019: https://ir.deliveryhero.com/download/companies/delivery/Annual%20Reports/DE000A2E4K43-JA-2019-EQ-E-00.pdf
[xii] Etsy – Countries eligible for Etsy Payments: https://help.etsy.com/hc/en-us/articles/115015710408-Countries-Eligible-for-Etsy-Payments?segment=selling
[xiii] Etsy – Etsy, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Financial Results: http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReportArchive/e/NASDAQ_ETSY_2018.pdf
[xviii] Care.com – Care.com Inc.: http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReportArchive/c/NYSE_CRCM_2017.pdf
[xix] Care.com – Care.com Inc.: http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReports/PDF/NYSE_CRCM_2018.pdf
[xx] Amazon – Media release: Amazon creates flexible earning opportunities and supplements its delivery network with Amazon flex: https://amazonau.gcs-web.com/news-releases/news-release-details/amazon-creates-flexible-earning-opportunities-and-supplements
[xxi] Amazon Flex – 2018 Annual Report: Intelligence of Things: http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReportArchive/f/NASDAQ_FLEX_2018.pdf
[xxiii] United States Securities and Exchange Commission – Lyft, Inc.: https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1759509/000119312519059849/d633517ds1.htm
[xxiv] Lyft – Lyft: Annual Report 2019: https://investor.lyft.com/static-files/9da68816-849a-4720-bdc8-140de503ef95
[xxxix] Ai Group – The Emergence of the Gig Economy: https://cdn.aigroup.com.au/Reports/2016/Gig_Economy_August_2016.pdf
[xl] The Conversation – Uber might not take over the world but it is still normalizing job insecurity: https://theconversation.com/uber-might-not-take-over-the-world-but-it-is-still-normalising-job-insecurity-127234
[xlii] Care.com – Care.com, Inc.: https://cdn.aigroup.com.au/Reports/2016/Gig_Economy_August_2016.pdf