Economic effects of Airbnb in Australia

Analysing consumer benefits and economic contribution

A Deloitte Access Economics report for Airbnb found that Airbnb guests make a significant contribution to Australia’s economy, contributing $1.6 billion in GDP and supporting over 14,000 jobs. The platform also creates significant benefits for consumers both in terms of price savings and different features.

Airbnb is a peer to peer platform on which people can list and book accommodation around the world – whether that be a spare bed, a private room or a whole house. Short-stay rentals facilitated by platforms like Airbnb are part of a broader trend: the growth of the ‘sharing economy’, through which consumers are choosing to share assets and services via digital platforms. Hosts across Australia accommodated around 2.1 million guests for 3.7 million nights in 2015-16.

Airbnb engaged Deloitte Access Economics to assess the economic effects of Airbnb in Australia. This report aims to quantify the economic contribution of Airbnb guest spending to the Australian economy, and evaluate the economic benefits enjoyed by guests, hosts and the wider community.

Airbnb guests are now a significant driver of the tourism economy, with a total contribution to Australia’s GDP of $1.6 billion in 2015-16, supporting over 14,000 jobs in addition to the activities of hosts. An analysis of tourism policies across Australian states and territories finds Airbnb can help contribute to a number of their objectives.

Platforms like Airbnb increase the supply of guest accommodation in volume and variety terms, so they can both drive growth of the tourism industry and increase competition. There may be costs and impacts for existing operators, but consumers stand to gain. One of the drivers of Airbnb growth has been creating lower cost accommodation options – we estimate a cost saving of around $26 million in 2015-16 for guests staying in Sydney who might otherwise have stayed in traditional accommodation.

Benefits other than price are important too. One of the key non-price differences of Airbnb is location – three-quarters of Airbnb properties in major markets are located outside traditional tourist areas. Other features include bringing people together from other states or countries, home-like facilities in accommodation, and the features of the Airbnb app itself such as the rating system. The non-price benefits are estimated to be worth the equivalent of almost $50 million in 2015-16 for guests staying in Sydney alone.

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Economic effects of Airbnb in Australia
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