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Lockdown saw people increasingly rely on home delivery, and as a result, retailers saw a surge in demand for subscriptions. As people continue to embrace convenience culture at home, the reliability of subscriptions is offering them a feeling of consistency while other aspects of life feel out of control. We explore the insights behind the rise in subscription sign ups and why subscriptions are providing a convenient solution to managing finances in times of uncertainty.

The popularity of subscriptions reached new heights during lockdown as Britons searched for ways to entertain themselves at home. According to a Barclaycard Payments survey, subscriptions increased by 39.4% year-on-year in July 2020, with 65% of households signed up to subscription services and individuals spending an average of £46 per month. It seems lockdown accelerated a demand for convenience: more than half (53%) of consumers say that this was their primary reason for signing up. “Due to the prolonged period of lockdown, the public has grown accustomed to the range of products on offer, as well as the ease at which they can be regularly surprised and delighted by the brands they care about,” says Mary Portas, retail consultant. 

Subscriptions have been reframed as a safer and more hygienic way to shop during the pandemic
Shingi Rice (2020) ©

Not only do subscription models up the convenience factor, but they’ve also been reframed as a safer and more hygienic way to shop during the pandemic. So while people stay at home seeking comfort from food, shielding from outside contact, and staying entertained, meal kits, streaming platforms, video-on-demand, and grocery subscriptions are thriving. At a time when 64% of people are worried about the impact of the pandemic on their job security and 49% are shopping more cost-consciously, the set price of subscriptions also allows people to have more control over their spending and budget accordingly. Recognising the growing popularity of these services, investors are voting with confidence – meal kit brand Gousto secured £33 million in funding in the wake of the pandemic.

Precious Osoba is a junior behavioural analyst at Canvas8. Fascinated by the how's and why's of people & culture, she has a background in social sciences having studied Anthropology, Sociology & Communication & Culture prior to her Marketing Degree. You can often find her in aesthetically pleasing restaurants writing articles for her medium profile.


09 Sep 20
2 min read

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