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Subscription retail climbs in 2020 with more than a third of UK shoppers signed up to a service

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Customers’ interest in subscription-based buying has also seen an increase over the past year, with more than a third (37%) of consumers have subscribed to a paid next-day delivery service such as Amazon Prime – 9% more compared to two years ago.

According to research the Data & Marketing Association’s (DMA) by customers particularly bought toiletries and personal hygiene products (15%), clothes (15%), beauty and cleaning products (14%) and also alcohol (13%) via a monthly subscription – all notable increases on 12 months ago.

“Coronavirus has altered many aspects of consumers’ behaviour, especially the need for a remote connection to engage with their favourite brands. Over the past 12 months, the idea of entering a high street or supermarket might have felt like a risk many people were unwilling to take. Therefore, more consumers have requested key household items be delivered directly to their doorstep using premium courier services,” explains Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA. “Many businesses have been able to adjust their strategies and adapt, which will likely lead to a permanent rise in the availability and scope of subscription services in the future.”

In addition, half of consumers (53%) now have a paid media streaming subscription, up 6% from last year. Furthermore, 29% have a paid subscription to a music streaming service (26% in 2019) and 17% have a paid subscription to an online or print newspaper (18% in 2019).

The market for consumer subscriptions for physical goods will grow from an expected $64 billion in 2020 to more than $263 billion in 2025, separate research from Juniper Research suggested at the end of 2020.

These offerings, providing physical products on a recurring basis, will overtake the market for consumer digital service subscriptions in 2022, despite the significant lead the digital sector has had in this area, as many different consumer businesses seek to boost recurring revenue.

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