Parents Show Above-Average Adoption of Subscription Services

January 10, 2019

It seems today almost any item can be purchased on a subscription basis, and this might be appealing for busy parents. Indeed parents with kids under the age of 18 are more likely than non-parents to subscribe to a service across every single category, according to a recent recent report [report download] from Digitas.

Much like other adults, content leads the way in terms of subscription categories. Some 70% of parents subscribe to a TV or movie service, with 40% paying for a music subscription, around a quarter for gaming and almost 1 in 8 having a book subscription. With the exception of prepared meals (8%), the survey shows that each subscription area has at least 1 in 10 parents spending their cash for the convenience of receiving a regular stream of products and services.

All these figures are significantly ahead of adults without children, of whom half pay for TV and movies, 26% for music, 12% for gaming and 8% for books. Other research has also confirmed that parents have a higher affinity for e-commerce and subscription boxes.

The TV and movie category also has many adults subscribing to more than one service. For those subscribing here, 53% have more than one service, likely fueled by the arms race of original content that subscription video-on-demand services are producing.

Many See Subscriptions As Essential

Aside from leaning back to watch TV, play games or listen to music, a significant proportion of subscribers see their physical goods subscriptions as “absolutely essential”. More than one-third (35%) of those getting regular clothing or accessory deliveries also describe them that way, placing these at equal importance with music. Around one-quarter also see grocery (27%) and prepared meals (24%) as essential.

As repeat purchases drive customer loyalty and lifetime value, with increasing order frequency providing the fastest route to retail growth, it’s easy to see why recurring revenue streams appear attractive.

For adults age 18-34, peer validation also plays a more important role in determining whether they will go forward with a subscription or not. This group is more than twice as likely (14% vs 6%) as average to say they are likely to stay a customer if they’ve received compliments from their peers.

And while chatbots have been a hot topic among marketers, consumers paying for subscriptions prefer to stick with tried-and-trusted email. Around two-thirds (68%) list this channel as the way in which they prefer to hear from subscription brands, compared to just 3% who cite chatbots as their favorite tool.

The full report can be requested here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 2,020 US adults age 18 and older, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Digitas. 1,461 of the respondents currently have a subscription.

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