Global survey points to huge jump in Australian subscriptions


A global study has put Australia in equal top place for growth rate in subscription usage when compared with countries across Europe, the United States, Asia and Oceania.

Commissioned by leading cloud-based subscription management platform provider, Zuora, the survey of more than 13,000 international adults across 12 countries found that more than three out of four Australian adults (78%) now have at least one subscription service, up from 67 percent in 2018.

China had the highest percentage of subscribers (89 percent) followed by Spain and Italy. Australia ranked sixth – just behind New Zealand, but in front of the UK.

General Manager for Australia and New Zealand at Zuora, Marc Gagne, says the results show that Australians have fundamentally changed the way they approach the Subscription Economy over the last decade.

“Five years ago, only about half of Australian adults said they subscribed to a service. The fact that this figure is now very close to eight in every ten, shows that a very major shift has taken place.

“We know from the research that there are several reasons for the change. It’s true that some are circumstantial – we can’t underestimate the effect of COVID-19, for example – but this is a long-term trend and Australians are preferring subscriptions for personal reasons, as well.”

Gagne says that, as part of the research, respondents were asked about the benefits of subscribing to a product or service instead of owning it, and that the results were telling.

“Convenience was the number one benefit across the world, including in Australia. But it was interesting to note that Australians consider the opportunity to own fewer physical items as a much greater benefit in comparison with the international average.

“At Zuora we often talk about the end of ownership, and it seems as if Australians are, more and more, envisioning a world where material possessions become less important and things like service reliability, variety, exclusivity and sustainability become much more significant.”

Eighty percent of Australians surveyed agreed with the statement that In the future I believe people will subscribe to more services and own less physical ‘stuff’, higher than the international average of 76 percent. Three quarters also said they thought subscriptions released a person from “the burden of ownership” and 67 percent said they wished they could “own less ‘stuff'”.

The research showed that interest in subscriptions for TV and movies on-demand is highest, followed by music services and grocery delivery.

“It’s no surprise that during this pandemic people sought entertainment they could enjoy from their couch, as well as alternative ways of ordering groceries. But we’ve also seen very significant increases in subscriptions in the health, education and business-to-business categories,” Gagne says.

In fact, few headline figures fell in the latest report. Every country registered an increase in people reporting that they had at least one subscription and the average number of subscriptions is now three, up from two and a half in 2018.

“One of the overarching themes in this survey is that people are not only subscribing to more services but are conscious of it and expect the trend to continue.”

The survey included 13,626 participants from the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Japan, Singapore, China, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. More than a thousand Australian adults participated in the research.

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