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Morgan Stanley Says Airbnb Momentum in US, Europe Slowing Down

Airbnb’s penetration rate in Europe and the US appears to be slowing down, according to Morgan Stanley’s annual AlphaWise survey which found that the share of travelers staying at Airbnbs over the past 12 months rose to 25 percent, up by 300 basis points but lower than the previous year’s growth rate of 800 basis points.

Morgan Stanley has revised its forecast for Airbnb user adoption down from 31 percent to 28 percent for 2018, from 37 percent to 30 percent for 2019 and from 43 percent to 31 percent for 2020.

The firm cites awareness as the reason behind the plateau. Approximately 80 percent of online users across the US, the UK, Germany and France are aware of the platform.

“Awareness-driven adoption can only go so far among this demographic in these countries,” the report said, adding that the slowing growth applies to both leisure and business travelers.

Another factor cited by the report is safety with the number of people concerned about such issues rising from 10 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017. Privacy also featured in with 36 percent – up 700 basis points – of non-Airbnb users concerned.

At the same time, the survey also noted that usually consumers become more comfortable with emerging technologies as awareness, testing and adoption grow. “This doesn’t appear to be happening for Airbnb… This is surprising and potentially troubling for Airbnb’s growth,” the report stated.

Research adds that online travel agencies (OTAs) are expected to benefit from the new development. “If anything, we see the OTAs’ strong use trends, paid search/traffic acquisition expertise and improving inventory offering (more alternative accommodations) becoming a growing threat to Airbnb, as the OTAs, in our view, are better positioned to act as the online travel one-stop shop.”

Meanwhile, the platform refused last week to turn over personal data of its customers to the Greek finance ministry, which is trying to find ways to control the practice that has the hotel sector up in arms over lost revenue.

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