Is Subscription Fatigue overrated?

Is Subscription Fatigue overrated? A new report indicates that we may be making more of subscription fatigue than it really is. Shashank Venkat examines whether subscription fatigue is indeed blown out of proportion

The explosion of subscription services has given consumers a lot of choice across industries and segments. While choice is a good thing, too much of a good thing may not necessarily be ideal for customers. The phenomenon of subscription fatigue stems from the unbridled growth in subscription services which is only growing as more businesses embrace the subscription model.

However, the president of research firm TDG, Michael Greeson, believes that subscription fatigue is indeed overrated. In a report, Greeson cited the findings of a survey which revealed that only 10% of US subscribers thought that they had subscribed to too many services and were likely to cancel one soon. In fact, 66.5% of the survey respondents thought that they had ‘just enough’ video subscriptions indicating they did not feel any fatigue.

Interestingly, the analyst stated that subscription fatigue is a product of a legacy business mindset and SVOD business owners should steer clear of this mentality. In fact, another report which we covered recently in our weekly subscription roundup, pointed out that US consumers are expected to spend $26 billion on music and video subscriptions in 2019. This indicates that customers still have a voracious appetite for subscriptions and fatigue hasn’t set in yet.

So, is subscription fatigue overrated?

Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to that. Whether subscription fatigue has indeed set in, depends on the individual customer. For someone who has just started subscribing to such services, subscription fatigue is out of the question. However, subscription creep is all too real a phenomenon for power subscribers who pay for multiple products and/or services.

While subscription fatigue being a product of a legacy mindset is an interesting way of looking at the problem, it does not take away from the fact that most customers have limited time and budget. Individuals may have an appetite for subscriptions, but that does not mean that the industry can lay out an entire buffet. Individuals are likely to opt for new subscription services at the cost of other subscriptions to stick to their budgets.

What can subscription businesses do?

Instead of stressing about dynamics such as fatigue, subscription businesses should focus on delivering a rich experience and then leave it to their customers to decide. There is a reason why services such as Netflix, Spotify and Amazon Prime are the subscription leaders in their niche. These companies have an obsession with customer experience which helps them to foster ‘subscription delight’ instead of subscription fatigue.

Of course, subscription businesses still need to have some essentials in place. They need to have a good subscription billing platform, track the right metrics, avoid common subscription billing mistakes, deliver continuous value and build long-term relationships with their customers. If they can do all those things well, they will ensure that at least their business is safeguarded from any onset of subscription fatigue.

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