Subscriptions have been booming in popularity as of late. Streaming and music services have dominated the conversation. These areas are occupied almost completely by subscription models, yet they’re not the only ones. Today subscription models are more popular and more diverse than ever, here are just a few.
Looking at the Main Types of Subscriptions
Membership subscription services. For these the subscription is just a means to accessing the product. A consumer cannot go into Costco unless they have the membership, for example. These are some of the most classic subscriptions and are likely here to stay. The advantage of these is typically great prices, but only if the service is actively used.
Perk subscription services. For some services, being a subscription member means certain benefits. Amazon Prime is a great example of one of these services. One can still use Amazon without it, but shipping will be slower, more expensive, and more impractical. These services tend to serve as a necessity for any active users, but ultimately are a bonus.
Monthly curated products. One of the more recent innovations, these curated products, typically boxes, have been booming. COVID created a need for products that people were having a hard time getting in person. These monthly boxes may be somewhat pricey, but are extremely practical, curated, and fun.
A variation of the curated products is that of necessary replenishments. The model is similar but the products, things like food and toiletries, are necessities. These consequently tend to be much more practical to use and are rarely monthly deals. For many people today it’s subscriptions like these that allow their lives to flow smoothly. Not everyone can feasibly make it to the supermarket regularly. These services offer an alternative.
Usage based models. Necessity replenishments tend to fall under this category, but it can also be much more broad. Usage based models are any services that charge based on use. Subscriptions are typically thought of as monthly, regular payments, but this is not always the case. For many more casual users these are much more practical alternatives.
We have now reviewed the major modern subscription models. Most people today are using at least one of them, and they’re only becoming more popular. The question moving forward is if they’ll remain as largely positive tools. Subscription models are prone to abuse and price inflation, especially as they start to dominate the market. Streaming services, for example, are more spread out and expensive than ever.
The balance between making a profit and making subscriptions affordable is where the problem lies. While some subscriptions don’t rely on affordability and instead are more oriented towards fun surprises, this is rare. Most rely on being a practical yet affordable alternative to manually going through and dealing with a product or service. While today this is a realistic and somewhat easy balance to manage, this may change.
These are the struggles and concerns of the modern subscription model. Yet ultimately people love their subscriptions. They’re seen as fun, cheap, and convenient. It’s a model that isn’t going anywhere, so what’s left to be seen is how it’ll innovate even more.