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Good Lord! Brits now spend £620 a year on subscriptions

The UK remains a nation of ‘Super Subscribers’, with Brits spending £620 per year on subscriptions – up 12 per cent, from £552 just 12 months ago.

Research of 2,000 adults found digital and ‘deliver to door’ is now such an integral part of Brits’ daily lives that eight in 10 UK households are signed up to at least one subscription service – up 16 per cent year-on-year.

Entertainment platforms such as music and film streaming services remain the firm favourite (46 per cent), with food or meal boxes (16 per cent), technology (14 per cent) and beauty/grooming services (12 per cent) following in popularity.

As a result, the ‘subscription economy’ is now worth an estimated £395m; an increase of 23 per cent in the last 12 months alone, according to the research from Barclaycard Payments, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions.

While increasingly profitable for retailers, shoppers are making savings too as nearly half (48 per cent) of those signed up to subscriptions say they save money as a result, averaging £290 per year.

The savings are also felt elsewhere, with 45 per cent claiming their subscriptions discourage them from buying products unnecessarily.

Marc Pettican, president of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Whether it’s entertainment, meal boxes, beauty products, or even musical instruments, subscriptions have become a consumer staple in British life.

“While lockdown certainly provided a catalyst for their growth, our data shows the popularity of digital and direct-to-door sign-up services is here to stay.

“The convenience, personal touch and value for money subscriptions provide means they have longevity, especially as we adjust to life and new routines as result of the pandemic.

“As the subscription economy continues to grow, it will be interesting to see how the range of sign-up products and services retailers offer in this way expands too.”

The study also explored some of the more novel offerings Brits are signing-up to, which include deliveries of cheese (eight per cent), musical instruments (eight per cent) and underwear (seven per cent).

Although nearly half (45 per cent) of Brits relied on the convenience of subscriptions during lockdown, the trend looks to be here to stay with 40 per cent planning to sign-up to more services even though restrictions have eased.

Half (50 per cent) find subscriptions actually help them to keep their finances organised, and 55 per cent value the time saved thanks to regular deliveries.

Four in 10 (43 per cent) would buy a loved-one a subscription service for Christmas or a birthday, with 36 per cent already planning to utilise them as part of their gift shopping going forward.

Pettican added: “Despite accelerating during lockdown, the convenience and value for money that subscriptions offer gives them longevity, and we expect to see Brits continuing to increasingly bespoke offerings, such as cheese or gourmet restaurant meal kits, in the future.”


1.            Entertainment platforms

2.            Food/meal boxes

3.            Technology

4.            Beauty or grooming

5.            Books/literature

6.            Flowers/gardening

7.            Health

8.            Pets

9.            Restaurant meal kits

10.          Alcohol