April 15, 2021 at 09:00AM

The pandemic has dramatically changed the way that United States consumers use subscription services. Many consumers have been eager to discover new eCommerce experiences while they are stuck at home, with subscriptions being one of their favorite new avenues for exploring new goods and services. The result has been a massive increase in the share of consumers using subscription products.

There is nevertheless one area of the subscription commerce market whose growth has outpaced all others: subscription retail products. The number of consumers using online subscription services to purchase their retail products has nearly doubled in the past year, with 48 percent of those subscribers using subscription services because they believe it is easier and more convenient to have products delivered to their doorstep than it is to shop for them in stores. This speaks to a much broader shift away from brick-and-mortar retail in favor of quick, easy eCommerce alternatives.

Yet ease and convenience are only two of countless factors that consumers look for in their subscription commerce experiences. What other features must subscription providers offer to win over these new, subscription-curious consumers?

The 2021 Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, a PYMNTS and sticky.io collaboration, provides a glimpse into the complex ways in which the past year has reshaped consumers’ expectations for subscription services. PYMNTS surveyed a census-balanced panel of 2,022 U.S. adult consumers to learn about what they look for when deciding to sign up for new subscriptions, the types of subscription services for which they are signing up most and what subscription service providers can do to win over more subscribers.

PYMNTS research shows that consumers have convenience and speed at the top of their minds when signing up for new subscription services, but also that many have come to see subscriptions as a way to have fun and explore new purchasing experiences from the safety of their homes. They therefore tend to see subscription services as falling into one of two, broad categories: “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” Must-haves include such products as cleaning supplies, groceries and pet products, while nice-to-haves might include beauty products and alcohol, for example.

Consumers are more likely to subscribe directly to manufacturers for their nice-to-haves than for must-haves, with more of them saying they use direct-to-consumer (D2C) subscriptions for enjoyment. Forty-two percent of consumers with D2C beauty subscriptions say they use such subscriptions for enjoyment and fun, for example. So do 41 percent of consumers with D2C alcohol subscriptions. This compares to only 24 percent of consumers who use D2C household supply subscriptions for enjoyment and fun, by contrast.

Understanding what consumers want from their subscription commerce purchases is one matter, but enabling the subscription commerce experiences they expect is quite another. The 2021 Subscription Commerce Conversion Index details what providers need to know about this new consumer mindset to earn more subscribers.

To learn more about how the ongoing pandemic is shaping the subscription commerce ecosystem, download the index.

NEW REPORT: Key Features Convert The Subscription Curious Into Long-Term Subscribers …

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