A quarter of Brits plan to sign up to more subscription services

Netflix on a tablet.
A quarter of Brits plan to sign up to more subscription services
Duncan is an award-winning editor with more than 20 years experience in journalism. Having launched his tech journalism career as editor of Arabian Computer News in Dubai, he has since edited an array of tech and digital marketing publications, including Computer Business Review, TechWeekEurope, Figaro Digital, Digit and Marketing Gazette.

24% of UK consumers plan to sign up for more subscription services, according to a survey conducted by Recurly, a subscription management and billing platform.

The study also revealed that consumers are more loyal (59%) and tend to spend more money (45%) with brands and businesses they subscribe to.

Conducted this year, the survey of more than 2,000 consumers highlights that most (93%) spend up to £150 per month on subscriptions, and are now more willing to spend their time and money on in-person shopping (40%), in-person entertainment and events (36%) and international travel (34%). Unsurprisingly, Streaming Video (69%), Retail (42%) and Food (22%) are the most subscribed services today.

With the cost of living at the forefront of consumers’ minds, 90% of respondents are concerned by inflation. As a result of the current cost of goods and services, 28% plan to cancel some subscriptions, but the data suggests that over three quarters of respondents will either keep their current subscriptions (49%) or sign up to more (24%). Nearly half of respondents also said the pandemic made them reconsider their subscription services.

34% of UK consumers have more subscription services now than they did in 2020-2021, with increased subscriptions for services such as streaming video (62%), retail (26%) and health & fitness (18%). Although two of those services – streaming video (39%) and health & fitness (19%) – and streaming audio (18%) were on the list of most cancellations.

Oscar Wall, GM, EMEA, at Recurly, said: “We’re seeing opportunities grow for a number of new subscription categories and concepts. As people return to in-person experiences, they are carrying their love of subscriptions with them.

“Streaming services, traditional retailers and in-person businesses are looking to retain and scale in 2022, with fears of the impact of inflation, it’s important for businesses to anticipate consumers’ subscription behaviours – our research suggests that subscriptions drive recurring revenue, loyalty, and growth as consumers establish their new spending habits and behaviours.”

While capitalising on the loyalty of subscription services proves to be a driver of growth, businesses should consider a number of key findings:

Exclusive content and services

To keep subscribers, content and brand preference drive subscription choice, as 36% of UK consumers say that having exclusive access to content or services is a main reason for signing up for a subscription service, closely followed by a preference towards one brand/service over others (31%).

For Millennial and Gen-Z consumers, access to exclusive and compelling content or services are a major driver of subscription popularity, with, on average, 40% of these consumers prioritising it as their primary reason for subscribing. This includes exclusivity in product, content, or service, as well as unique bundling, perks, or discounts. This also leads to stronger preferences about brands as these consumers are more keenly focused on the types of offerings available from a range of companies, and they spend the time to choose the services that best deliver on their needs and wants.

“It’s important for retailers and service providers to tap into key marketing elements of loyalty, such as promotions and trials, which are a major opportunity to acquire and grow market share,” said Wall. “Providing exclusivity and creating consumer-led pricing models to these experience services is a major factor in successful retention and growth,” added Wall.

Driving subscription sign ups

Subscription models have helped usher in an era of convenience and “set it and forget it” options for consumers. The main factors in driving subscription sign-ups are ease of setting up, changing or cancelling a subscription (56%), promotions like free trials or product samples (56%), and earning loyalty points, perks or discounts (51%). However the main reasons driving subscription cancellations are price increases (72%), if the service is no longer of use to the subscriber (67%), and if a competitor provided a better offering (47%).

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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