‘Peak subscription’ is coming

Spotify. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Oddbox. Apple Music.

These are the subscriptions currently live in my two person household.

And that doesn’t count those held by family and friends, which I may occasionally tap into…

From films to flowers, music to meal kits, it seems that everything is moving towards the subscription model.

But is the subscription economy becoming too saturated? How many simultaneous subscriptions can consumers really manage?

Even back in 2017 it was reported that 9 in 10 UK consumers are subscribers. More recently in the world of video & TV content, streaming subscribers overtook cable customers.

A straw poll of the TVE office reveals that on average TVE consultants have about 4 or 5 live subscriptions in their household. Some even have as many as 10.

And this doesn’t even include the ‘first generation’ subscriptions we’ve all become so accustomed to, such as phone contracts, broadband and monthly charity donations.

When you start to add all of these up, that’s a lot of subscriptions to manage. So how can brands avoid missing out due to subscription fatigue?

One method could be to move away from monthly payments to subscriptions paid on a quarterly, biannual or yearly basis. Totting up the amount that vanishes from my bank account on a monthly basis to cover various subscriptions makes the prospect of signing up to anything else feel rather alarming.

However, if one of my subscriptions only required a payment once every 3 months, it might feel a little more manageable – one more frivolous month followed by two where I could save a bit more feels like quite a nice set-up!

Another option could be to lean even further into the idea of family or shared plans. If one person is managing a subscription on behalf of multiple people, those people have more headspace to manage other subscriptions, which could increase the overall number of subscriptions each person uses.

There is also perhaps a white space opportunity for a brand to emerge as a subscription manager. Being able to manage subscriptions from one location – and ideally make one monthly payment rather than multiple – could make it much easier for people to hold more simultaneous subscriptions.

It would also provide much greater visibility over total subscription spend, removing any anxiety and confusion caused by multiple different payments all leaving the bank account at different times across the month.

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but peak subscription is on the horizon. How will your brand handle it?

By: The Value Engineers