The Changing Desire for Subscriptions

Each generation and time period finds a new set of values rising to the top. One value that has only seen increased importance over the years is convenience. It’s a value that feeds into itself. The more convenient one’s life is, the more they desire things to make it even easier. This is what subscriptions have been capitalizing on lately.

Subscriptions are ultimately a way to make things easier and more convenient. When streaming services first started coming up, they were a cheap and easy alternative to the theater and cable. Why put in the effort of finding something to watch on TV or going to the theater? Staying home and watching Netflix offers countless amazing movies with zero ads. 

This only became more true post COVID. Now people were even less likely to go out, so Amazon, Instacart, and similar services boomed. Subscriptions now are also a unique form of entertainment and fun. There are now many themed monthly boxes which provide scents, decorations, or other fun items. These aren’t cost effective but they’re, again, practical but now with the addition of being fun.

Looking at the numbers, these changing sentiments are very clearly represented. Under 10% of baby boomers find themselves purchasing any subscription services. Looking at millennials that number jumps to nearly 40%. Gen Z currently has a lower rate, but as the generation reaches older ages that is predicted to change. 

This is not to say that subscriptions are without flaws or shouldn’t be questioned. As can be seen now with streaming services, prices can rise and quality can lower. Although people clearly like these consistent subscription services. What’s yet to be seen is how they can be made to be constantly and consistently profitable, convenient, and affordable. This is the challenge to be addressed moving forward into a subscription based future.