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Subscription services are growing in popularity

But why do we love them so much?

Subscriptions are growing and increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives. Whether for products, services, or hobbies, many of us are finding that the pay monthly subscription model is the best fit for modern life. This is important as we now have more options available to us than ever. Here we look at some of the subscriptions we love and the benefits they bring us.

In the past, if we had a subscription to anything it was likely to be a magazine that landed on our doormat once a month. As the world has moved into the digital sphere, however, so has the availability of subscription services.

Subscriptions are so popular because of the cost efficiency and convenience they offer. Despite being written over 20 years ago, Professor Gerald Zaltman of Harvard Business School, notes on subscriptions in his book; How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market that “95% of all thought, emotion, and learning occur in the unconscious mind.” The act of paying and making an actual transaction is almost non-existent following the initial setting up of the subscription, and we can simply enjoy life knowing that the product or service we’ve signed up for will always be there when we need it.

Chart detailing Europe's most popular subscriptions

According to over 4,200 respondents to Brother’s 2023 consumer print survey, 79% of consumers across the UK, Germany, France, and Italy currently hold a subscription service of some kind in their name, and 68% even go so far as to claim to have a ‘favourite’ subscription.

When it came to a question of ‘favourite’ subscription services, we found a similarly broad pan-European consensus: Netflix was by far the most-loved subscription in all four countries among customers who named a favourite.

Amazon Prime and Disney+ battled it out for second place in all four markets, but both were in single percentage figures in each.

Chart showing the most popular benefits of subscription services

Unsurprisingly saving money and convenience were ranked the top two benefits. When we take out a subscription, the reason is usually to save money on some of our favourite things, or to have it delivered when you need it the most, without any effort. 

But a subscription service also offers stability, and predictability of costs placed third in our research. Consumers want to know what they are getting, when they are getting it and how much they are going to pay. The fact that you agree to a set amount each month helps you to budget and there are no hidden costs to worry about, making subscription services a draw for many. 

The convenience of home delivery was also popular – which of course is very closely linked to convenience. And unsurprisingly, when the results were broken down for customers who had selected a physical product as their favourite subscription, home delivery jumped up the rankings to third overall.

So, what does this mean for subscription types? 

There is no question that most people like the convenience that a subscription service offers as it helps them facilitate their consumption habits – whether that’s the latest film on Netflix or getting cosmetics or an ink cartridge delivered to their door. Not only that, but people crave a bargain and put an emphasis on value for money.

There is also a generational difference in our attitudes towards subscription services. Xavier Zeitoun co-founded a restaurant booking startup Zenchef using a subscription model.

He told Sifted: “I think it’s very generational so it will maybe take a few more years, but as Generations Y and Z become the majority of the population, I think it will become the standard to buy anything with a subscription. Even companies that sell physical things like cars will go to subscriptions because that’s what people need. They need flexibility.”

Customer relaxing after receiving EcoPro print subscription delivery from Brother

The proliferation of subscriptions is also giving consumers the ability to make purchasing choices that align to the things that matter to them, whether that’s an organic vegetable box, vegan meal kits or natural, planet-friendly cleaning products.

Subscriptions are increasingly becoming a way for consumers to show the market their ethical and environmental preferences by voting with their wallets for the products and services that give them what they need in a way that fits their expectations of brands and their responsibilities.

Our printer ink and toner subscription EcoPro not only saves users time and money, but also contributes towards a more environmentally friendly way of printing, offering free remanufacturing and recycling of used old cartridges and reducing waste.

Getting the correct cartridge delivered to you before your old one runs out means nothing ends up left in a drawer – or worse the bin. It is also great value for money and is affordable for homes and professional users – according to a December 2022 report by Keypoint Intelligence, Brother EcoPro subscribers across 12 European markets saved an average of 66.2% compared to buying inkjet cartridges in store.

And, with 80% of respondents to the survey renewing all of their  subscriptions in the past 12 months, it looks like subscription services are here to stay, and will continue to grow in popularity.

Discover the benefits of Brother’s EcoPro print subscription, as well as how it can help with recycling and protecting the environment.

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