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35% of UK consumers using fewer subscriptions, SubX podcast covers how to limit churn


New data from Virgin Media O2 has highlighted that the popularity of subscription services has taken a hit due to a “return to normal routines”.

The data set found 35% of UK consumers used fewer subscription services than during the pandemic, with only 17% using more. Of those who have cut back, 48% cited cost considerations, 33% having less free time and 30% a return to normal routine. 

Looking at the generational split, 25–34-year-olds were most likely to cite that they had less free time (51%). While, Londoners are most likely to have cut back, with 48% reducing the number of subscription services they used compared to during the pandemic.

Virgin Media O2 looked at the public findings over the past couple of months compared with pandemic subscription services used:

Used during pandemicUsed in the past two months
Meal kit subscriptions (e.g. HelloFresh)13%10%
Wine and beverage subscriptions 10%8%
Fitness and wellbeing subscriptions (e.g. Peloton) 12%10%
Streaming services (Netflix, Disney+, etc.) 48%50%
Beauty subscriptions (e.g. Glossybox, Cohorted)7%7%
Music and podcast subscriptions (e.g. Spotify)18%20%
Gaming subscriptions (e.g. PlayStation Plus)14%14%

Only streaming subscriptions and music/podcast subscriptions have increased post-pandemic. Meanwhile, beauty and gaming subscriptions have both stayed steady.

Tackling these plateaus and decreases will be critical to retailers offering subscription services. It is a hot topic that has been discussed at length in the SubX Subscription Economy Podcast, in association with Avalara.

Neil Campbell, chief growth officer at sustainable cleaning subscription company Smol, told the podcast panel that understanding your customer is key to limiting “subscription fatigue”.

He noted: “Can we make sure that we’re bringing customers who are sticking around into the right mixture of marketing channels and incentives?”

Campbell also stressed that the “right proposition”, the “right product” and a “competitve price” was key to subscription retention.

Hear more from Smol in the special LIVE at SubX World episode of the podcast series. Campbell is joined by Tarmo van der Goot, vice president EMEA at Chargebee and Sacha Wilson, senior commercial director at Avalara to cover which elements are key to making subscriptions work now and that won’t change in the future.

Product subscription, the rental market and refillable options are covered in this new series.

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