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Digital subscription services continue to soar post lockdown

Britain has become a nation of super-subscribers with an average of seven services per household, according to new stats.

Most people, besides maybe pensioners living out their retirement in aging rural towns, will know that online subscriptions are the present and almost certainly the future of home entertainment.

Pre-Covid, Western viewing and listening pleasures were divvied up almost exclusively between ubiquitous hubs like Netflix, Amazon TV, Apple TV, and Spotify. And as you’d probably deduced from your own experience, lockdown has only accelerated the demand for new digital content, as paying customers look to fill their days and company figureheads home in on a hyper engaged, captive audience.

This shift is most palpable in the UK at the moment, where a new study has revealed that British households currently average seven subscription contracts per month. In June, a survey pool of 2,000 adults were questioned about their app tariffs by Barclaycard, and the resulting average came in at a hefty £46 a month – or £552 a year. This data follows the credit company’s previous research that displayed close to a 40 percent increase in subscriptions since July 2019.

Alongside these figures, one in ten physical retailers were reported to have launched their first subscription service in lockdown (between March and June specifically), and a fifth were developing them at the time.

While it didn’t exactly take a genius to forecast buying behaviours increasing online… what with outdoor entertainment pretty hard to come by at the mo, the speed at which industries are adapting and benefitting is somewhat surprising. The gaming industry, for instance, has shifted massively toward service orientated monetisation, with Game Pass and PlayStation Plus engagement soaring in recent months, and we’ve now seen our first entirely digital (‘discless’) console – the ‘PS5 Digital’ – due to hit stores this Holiday.

E-commerce is set to become a mainstay of the retail sector too as the high-street lags behind the chief money generator: online shopping, and grocery shops in the UK are fast becoming full-scale delivery services with home shopping up from 61 percent on 2019, according to a Waitrose report.

Lockdown may have eased, but the popularity of direct-to-door services, and the convenience of digital packages will continue to shake industries up in the months ahead. Whether we’re talking streaming services, meal kits, bespoke alcohol crates, or on-demand exercise classes, people are now accustomed to a whole new range of products on offer – and just a few taps away on their phones.

Today, the ‘subscription economy’ is estimated to be worth a whopping £323 million, and you can bet your bottom bitcoin it’ll jump exponentially in the years ahead.


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