After a wildly successful IPO, Airbnb looks to continue to build on its COVID-driven momentum.  As traditional travel has slowed, Airbnb has become the preferred method of lodging for many Americans looking for what seems to them a safer way to get away from it all.  But is the company’s recent growth sustainable?  In today’s post, we examine several aspects of Airbnb’s performance, which may provide insights for competitors or any businesses interested in better understanding sharing economy business models.

Airbnb Sales vs. CE Data

Note:  Divergence between reported and panel numbers at beginning of COVID-19 pandemic may be partially due to cancelled but rebooked stays.

Our CE Vision platform shows that Airbnb was able to sustain strong growth prior to the pandemic.  A key driver of this success is the company’s focus on younger customers.  In fact, roughly 30% of Airbnb’s customers are between 25 – 34 years old, almost double the proportion at major hotels chains.  Unlike hotels, the majority of which emphasize consistency in everything from the breakfast to the sheets, Airbnb has thrived by inviting younger vacationers to create connections with their local hosts across the globe.

Airbnb Customer Demographics

Note:  Calendar 2019

While strong growth from its unique customer base has fueled Airbnb’s rise to prominence, the pandemic has helped the company become a market leader.  Airbnb was already on pace for a strong 2020, gaining 11% market share from the last quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2020.  However, a combination of longer stays and perceptions of safety due to COVID-19 have caused Airbnb’s market share to spike.  The company’s share of the market with its lodging competitors grew 18% from Q1 to Q2 2020 before settling at 39% share in Q3.

Airbnb Market Share

Note:  Market includes Lodging subindustry + Airbnb

After so much success in such a short time frame, it is natural to question if Airbnb will be able to sustain its market position once travels returns to pre-pandemic patterns.  Examining Airbnb consumer spending behaviors provides an optimistic outlook for the company.  For the past few years, customers at the Top 50 Hotels have been increasingly likely to spend on Airbnb lodgings.  On the other hand, Airbnb has been fairly successful in limiting how many of its customers switch to major hotels.  If these trends continue, Airbnb seems to be in a strong position to capitalize on the recent influx of patrons.

Airbnb Cross-Shop Profile

Obtaining a better understanding of new business models in the lodging industry is just one example of the numerous capabilities that can be leveraged from CE Vision.  The platform allows companies to analyze the demographic trends of its customers and nearest competitors, helping uncover potentially untapped markets.  Additionally, CE Vision provides companies with important information about market share trends for a variety of rapidly changing sectors.  Finally, CE Vision’s cross-shop dashboards allow users to better understand how successful they are at stealing customers from competition and vice-versa.