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Stockings shift toward subscriptions this holiday season for UK shoppers

New survey shows UK consumers are willing to gift and receive subscriptions this Christmas despite economic pressure

London, UK, 19 September 2023 - Food & beverage boxes and video streaming services are predicted to be popular presents this Christmas as consumers look to subscriptions to make their gifts go further amid cost of living crisis.

A new survey released today by Recurly, a leading subscription management and billing platform, found seven out of ten people in the UK said the economy will change the way they approach gift-giving this Christmas. 39% will spend less this year, while more than a quarter (26%) will simply choose fewer people to give gifts to.

The survey also found that the current economic period could be leading to consumers considering gifting subscriptions as it’s a gift that keeps on giving, beyond the holiday period.

38% of the 1,000 UK consumers surveyed said they were interested in giving a gift subscription this Christmas, with the average person willing to spend a maximum of £75 for the right gift. 24% of people have already received subscriptions as a gift previously. 

Food & beverage packages, such as Beer52, Candy Club, and Naked Wines, are the most popular subscription options to receive as gifts for almost a third (32%) of respondents. Health & fitness subscriptions (26%) are also becoming popular gifts, followed by in-person entertainment (23%) and streaming video services (23%).

The UK is becoming a nation of super subscribers, with an estimated 44 million new subscriptions added within the past year.*

The window of opportunity for businesses to get ready for the holiday season is closing fast, and service providers need to make sure they’re providing consumers a good value for gift subscriptions, extending their acquisition efforts long after the holiday season is over,Oscar Wall, General Manager EMEA at Recurly, said.

Subscriptions aren’t just for Christmas, either, as 63% would consider continuing with their service after the gift period had ended. Services that are seen as affordable (22%), exclusive (19%) and fun (17%) were most likely to be kept on - some for as long as an extra seven months after they had expired.

This Christmas might look different as consumers rein in their spending, but the excitement around gift-giving means people still want to find the right gift for the right person,” Wall said.

Subscriptions are perfect in their ability to offer new experiences as well as being a great alternative for people looking to spend less this Christmas. There’s clearly an appetite for subscriptions from both gift givers and receivers, and the wide array of services on offer hopefully means we won’t be unwrapping socks this Christmas.”

*The ‘44 million subscriptions added within the past 12 months’ figure was calculated by taking the national representation of UK consumers with two or more subscriptions (circa 55 million) multiplied by the net increase of subscriptions added within the past year (0.8) - State of Subscriptions: What consumers want survey 2023

You can access the full report here

Editor’s notes:

Findings based on an internet-based survey conducted by Censuswide and Recurly, August 2023. The sample size included 1,000 respondents each in the US and UK, 18+ years or over, who have intentions to either give or receive gifts during the upcoming holiday season.

About Recurly:

Thousands of innovative companies across digital media, streaming, publishing, SaaS, education, consumer goods, and professional services industries rely on Recurly to unlock transformational growth using subscriptions. Recurly’s all-in-one, integrated platform removes the complexities of automating subscription billing at scale by enabling teams to manage and optimise their subscriber lifecycles with ease. Category-defining companies including Sling, Twitch, BarkBox, FabFitFun, Paramount, Lucid, and Sprout Social have chosen Recurly to manage billions of dollars in recurring revenues, future-proof their recurring billing and revenue management, and recover billions of dollars in lost revenue due to churn. Founded in 2009, Recurly is based in San Francisco, with offices in Boulder and London. For more information, visit Recurly.

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