Platform work

An estimated 28.3 million people are working through platforms in the EU-27, with the majority of platform workers working online (79%). Workers on delivery (e.g., Delivery, Uber Eats, etc.) and transportation (e.g., Bolt, Uber, etc.) platforms are the most visible platform workers in society at large. This is reflected in the data which shows that these workers represent over half of all low-skilled on-location platform workers. The rest typically carry out support, home, childcare, and other on-demand services. Furthermore, platform work provides secondary or marginal employment for the majority of low-skilled on-location workers (48% and 27% respectively).

Figure 1. Estimated number of people working through platforms in low-skill on-location roles in the EU-27, by intensity of work (Survey 2021)

Source: PPMI Survey, 2021

The number of platform workers has significantly grown since 2012. The growth is expected to peak and stabilise around 2025. By that year 42.6 million people are expected to be working on platforms.

Figure 2. Projected number of people working though on-location and online digital labour platforms, 2012-2030

Source: PPMI Survey, 2021

Citizens’ concerns

Over the past two decades, digital transformation has reshaped society and while it provided numerous benefits, it also has been a major source of concern for policymakers and citizens alike. For instance, the main concerns relate to cyber-attacks and cybercrime, such as theft or abuse of personal data, ransomware (malicious software) or phishing (56%). This reflects that despite a growing reliance on digital tools people don’t feel sufficiently protected when using them.

Figure 3. Population’s concerns about the increased role of digital tools and the internet in our society, % (PPMI survey)

What worries you most about the increased role of digital tools and the internet in our society?

Source: European Commission, 2021

Trust in social media

Considering the high volumes of doubtful information seen online, trust in social media news sits at only 21%.

Figure 4. Percentage of population who has trust in social media for news (PPMI survey)

Source: Eurostat data (2021)

Platform transparency and volatility

As regards businesses using platforms to sell and advertise, results show that businesses using online travel agencies claim to have had issues more often than businesses using other platform types (34%). This is followed by businesses using e-commerce platforms (25%) and collaborative economy platforms (21%).

Figure 5. Complaints, disputes and conflicts with online platforms, by platform type (PPMI Survey)

Source: Authors, based on results of the PPMI survey (2021) N=256 respondents

Furthermore, most companies consider that reviews received on online platforms have a significant impact on sales. Also, the majority of companies claim to be aware of how online platform(s) that they use collect and use the company data and most companies cannot easily transfer key commercial data from one online platform to another.

Figure 6. Perception of businesses on access to data, % (PPMI Survey)

Source: Authors, based on results of the PPMI survey (2021) N=362 respondents

Businesses using collaborative platforms tend to receive data on their customers to a lesser extent (39%) than those using other platform types (>51%).

Figure 7. Perception of businesses on whether they encounter obstacles when trying to access the data produced by the platforms, % (PPMI Survey)

Source: Authors, based on results of the PPMI survey (2021) N=362 respondents

Businesses also complain that only partial data was shared (57%), or that the data shared did not match businesses’ needs (44%) or data portability was not allowed (41%). Only few businesses said that platforms refused to share any kind of data (16%).

Figure 8. Main obstacles encountered when trying to access the platform data, % (PPMI Survey)

Source: Authors, based on the PPMI survey (2021) N=81 respondents

Other issues linked to platforms’ market power

Lastly, an overwhelming majority of businesses surveyed were not aware of or had no experience with the P2B Regulation (91%), and only 7% of businesses think that the enforcement system in their respective countries is working well.

Figure 9. Businesses experience with the enforcement of the P2B Regulation, % (PPMI Survey)

Source: Authors, based on PPMI survey (2021) N=319 respondents