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Subscriptions have become a way of life and have changed how we consume media, or buy our groceries and pet supplies. While subscriptions have been in play for decades, the pandemic has accelerated its adoption. The digital transformation and the shift to subscriptions were crucial for businesses to survive and thrive beyond the pandemic.

According to a Harris Poll survey, US citizens plan to keep their music subscriptions (72%), exercise/fitness/wellness subscriptions (64%) and digital learning subscriptions (54%) even after the pandemic.

What Makes Subscriptions Popular?

The subscription business model is becoming increasingly popular as it brings more predictable revenue for businesses while offering consumers a world of convenience. In fact, subscriptions offer a number of benefits for both groups

Benefits for Businesses

Recurring revenue streams: Recurring revenue is an inherent benefit of the subscription business model. Subscriptions bring in predictable revenue that helps brave financial fluctuations.

Deeper customer engagement: Subscriptions require you to constantly engage with your customers and win them over with every subscription cycle. Done right; this leads to more profound and long-term customer relationships.

Revenue expansion opportunities: It costs much more to acquire new customers than to get the most out of your existing customer base. Subscriptions often come with tiered pricing plans and layered offerings. Businesses can upsell and cross-sell to move customers from a lower to a higher revenue plan.

Benefits for Customers

Cost-effective: Amazon’s subscribe-and-save is a classic example of how customers can save money by subscribing. Subscribing for the long term is a win-win situation for both the businesses and the customers. Even with the savings for consumers, businesses enjoy higher lifetime customer value.

Convenience: Customers opt for subscriptions to not have to spend their time and energy on repetitive tasks. There’s also the added benefit of door-step delivery.

Personalization and customization: Subscriptions offer customers the flexibility to customize and personalize the offering. For example, customers can choose the quantity and frequency (monthly, quarterly, annually) of their subscription products. They can also choose to pause or cancel the subscription whenever they want.

The 5 Industries That Are Shifting to Subscriptions

Given these benefits, it isn’t surprising that many industries, even traditional ones, are exploring subscriptions as a significant revenue stream.

1. eCommerce

A classification by McKinsey divides eCommerce subscriptions into three categories: Curation (subscription boxes), Replenishment (commodities and consumables) and Access/Bargain (membership access).

Although accelerated substantially by the pandemic, all three types of eCommerce subscriptions had been increasing steadily over the past few years. Globally, the subscription eCommerce market size is expected to hit $478.2 billion by 2025 as more consumers choose subscriptions over their monthly shopping lists.

2. Publishing

Publishers and traditional print media found their savior in subscriptions. While advertising revenues dwindled during the pandemic, subscriptions became their primary revenue stream ahead of advertising.

To build a more resilient business, publishers are investing in scaling their reader revenue model by increasing their digital footprint and ensuring a great user experience.

3. Education

In 2020, more than 1.2 billion kids all over the world finished their school year online. While the pandemic accelerated this adoption, the rising burden of student loans due to higher education costs will drive students and professionals alike to explore eLearning as a viable alternative. By 2026, the total market for eLearning worldwide is expected to grow exponentially, to over $370 billion.

4. Automobiles

Changing consumer behavior is also playing a crucial role in driving the shift to subscriptions. Today, consumers are increasingly leaning more towards “usage” than ”ownership.”

Riding on this trend, automotive giants like BMW, Audi, Jaguar and Cadillac have all introduced car subscriptions. It’s a classic example of traditional business models adapting to changing consumer preferences. The global car subscription market was valued at $3.55 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $12.09 billion by 2027.

5. Healthcare

Healthcare businesses are also exploring subscriptions to offer lower point-of-service costs. MDVIP is an excellent example of healthcare subscriptions. They charge subscribers an annual flat fee instead of having to pay via insurance or cash. The subscription covers preventative check-ups and has some value adds such as custom meal plans, personalized fitness plans and exclusive access to physicians.

The subscription services industry is booming with widespread adoption that’s here to stay. Learn more about the subscription business model and how you can successfully move to it here.

How Bluesnap and Chargebee Power the World of Subscriptions

Bluesnap is an all-in-one payment gateway that supports multiple countries and currencies. Chargebee is a subscription and recurring billing management platform. With the Chargebee + Bluesnap integration, subscription businesses worldwide can process recurring payments with automated recurring billing, invoicing and streamlined revenue operations. So now you can scale new markets and geographies without worrying about handling your recurring payments.

Your stride in the subscription world is just around the corner! Read more about what Chargebee + Bluesnap means for your business here.


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Nupura Ughade is a subscription industry enthusiast and a senior content marketer at Chargebee. In her free time, she can be found painting or reading in a nook.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a subscription service work?

If a company offers a subscription service and provides relevant payment options, then:

  • A purchasing customer may choose their preferred payment plan and payment method (debit or credit card, direct deposit, digital wallet, etc.).
  • The company will receive the order info and use a payment solution to manage the subscription billing details.
  • The payment solution stores the payment information and processes the payment request.
  • The customer is charged and then issued regular statements on the agreed-upon schedule.

What are recurring payments?

Recurring billing and subscription billing are essentially interchangeable terms for a payment model where a business automatically charges a customer’s credit card for products or services on a regular billing schedule. 

Recurring payments occur when customers enter their billing information once and grant the merchant permission to charge them at an agreed-upon cost and frequency. Subscription services will charge recurring payments on a monthly or annual schedule, until the customer withdraws permission or cancels their subscription.

Can I use BlueSnap for recurring or subscription billing?

Yes – we have an award-winning subscription billing platform. We also integrate with multiple subscription platforms. Learn more about it here.

Can AR automation also handle subscriptions?

Yes. Subscriptions are automatically calculated in terms of recurring revenue. All of this information is placed in the reports section. The system breaks down all subscription revenue to its recurring monthly component, keeping track of all subscription revenue.

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