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United States / Analyst Insights
Top 5 Gig Economy Sectors Boosted by Holiday Activity

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by Cecilia Fernandez, Lead Industry Research Analyst
Dec 31 2019

The gig economy, driven by freelancers and independent contractors, has been on the rise over the past five years. During the holiday season, businesses hire a heightened number of part-time employees and freelancers to meet the rise in demand for consumer products and consumer spending.

Tech-savvy companies such as Uber, TaskRabbit, Airbnb, Amazon and Etsy continue to provide an open space for the increase in the number of freelancers during periods of high demand. According to a report from McKinsey Global Institute, the gig economy makes up about 20.0% to 30.0% of the working population in the United States and Europe. Furthermore, according to CNBC, the gig economy is currently composed of a total of 60.0 million workers, and by 2027 most US workers will be contract workers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the gig economy has been most specifically relevant in certain sectors, including arts and design; computer and information technology; construction and extraction; media and communications; and transportation and material moving.


Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

Occupations in the Arts, Entertainment & Recreation sector (IBISWorld report 71), such as musicians, graphic designers and fine artists, experience a rise in demand during the holiday season due to an increase in promotional events and consumer spending. As a result, gig workers within this sector benefit from the holiday spirit.


Occupations within the Information sector (report 51), including website and software developers and computer programmers, are relevant to the gig economy as such workers can be hired on a job-by-job basis. IBISWorld estimates that e-commerce sales have increased an annualized 20.8% over the five years to 2019, encouraging more companies to open or establish an online presence. Businesses hire gig workers from this sector to create or update websites or software to reach a wider audience and cater to holiday shoppers.



Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Occupations within the Professional, Scientific & Technical Services sector (report 54), including technical writers, photographers and translators, all experience a rise in demand during the holiday season for different reasons. For example, the number of international and domestic travelers increases during holiday vacations, which boosts a need for translators. Additionally, Black Friday, Christmas and New Year’s lead to a spike in advertising campaigns due to the gift-giving mentality and high discount rates, increasing the need for gig workers within this sector.

 Transportation & Warehousing

Gig economy workers within the Transportation & Warehousing sector (report 48-49) similarly receive a boost during the holiday season in light of increased shopping expenditure. Ridesharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, and on-demand shopping services, such as those provided by delivery drivers, experience a surge during the holidays due to the high amount of purchases. Furthermore, demand for warehousing services rises as retail companies increase their inventories in order to meet demand.




Gig workers within the Construction sector (report 23) include painters, construction workers and carpenters. Unlike the aforementioned sectors the number of construction-related jobs available slows during the holiday season due to limited construction activity and building permit approvals. This is particularly the case in large cities such as New York City and Chicago. Conversely, indoor gig jobs tend to increase with the rise in decorations and renovations to prepare for the holidays.


Overall, gig workers in creative and logistical fields tend to experience higher demand during the holiday season, as companies tend to undertake more promotional activities to attract consumers. Considering the rise in online shopping, web and software developers will likely experience heightened demand as companies launch and sell new products during the peak of holiday shopping, and while logistics and creative professionals prepare for the imminent seasonal rise in demand.




Edited by Sean Egan
Infographic Design by Sean Egan