Today, Nibud, National Institute for Budget Information in the Netherlands, published their 2021 Subscription Insights Report. The report found that households are increasingly underestimating how many subscriptions they have and thus have a subscription management blind spot, which has the potential to jeopardize their financial health.
The report found that Netherland households have an average of 14 subscriptions a month, up from the average of 11 as reported in 2018 by Nibud. It is costing them hundreds of euros each month with almost a third sometimes forgetting to cancel a subscription, which means that they are stuck with it longer than they would like. A quarter of consumers do not go through their subscriptions every year and many people also take out a subscription without knowing the conditions. This can be a risk if there are conditions or additional costs associated with using the product.
This mirrors the global trend which is born out of the rise of the subscriptions-based business model. Subscribed Institute research found that the Subscription Economy has grown by nearly a multiple of six (more than 435%) over the last nine years, and subscription businesses have consistently grown five to eight times faster than traditional businesses. While the revenue model benefits suppliers, are consumers keeping up with the consequences on their wallet.
Consumers Underestimate Their Subscription Spend: The Rising Spending Blind Spot
Have their buying habits changed? Or is the transaction so seamless that they are merely unaware. Similar to the 2018 version of this report, Nibud found that the most frequent subscription transactions were on energy suppliers, bank accounts, mobile phones, streaming service, lotteries and roadside assistance. Segments that are on the rise are streaming services (from 47 to 54%), Internet not in combination package (from 23 to 36%), Microsoft or other software (from 26 to 32%), and television not in combination package (from 23 to 32%)
Consumer habits at a glance:
- 25% do not check annually which subscriptions could be cancelled
- 28% sometimes forget to cancel a subscription, which means they are stuck with it for longer.
- 20% indicate that sometimes a direct debit from a subscription could not be debited due to too little balance
- 45% don’t know how to cancel subscriptions
- 50% know the conditions under which cancellations may be made
- 50% would like to be helped by the provider or bank with overviews and cancelling subscriptions
Looking for Banks to Help
Knowing when the Netflix fee gets charged and or knowing when your phone bill expires becomes increasingly challenging as the number of subscriptions rises. While consumers had high confidence in themselves, with 60 percent of respondents to the Nibud report claiming that they understood risks that subscriptions can entail, in reality, they still are calling out for support in managing those risks.
In fact, in the report, 76 percent of consumers thought it was important to be notified that their subscription will expire soon. Even further, 75 percent think it is important to be alerted that their subscription will soon be automatically renewed if they do not take any action.
Retail Bank Response
In 2021, Minna Technologies surveyed over 500 consumers in the Netherlands, across all age groups and genders, to understand their needs and attitudes towards having subscription management as a service in their digital bank.
The findings point to retail banks as an integral part of the solution for the Subscription Management ‘blind spot’. In fact, 65 percent of Netherland bank customers were interested in getting an overview of subscription spending in their digital bank with 74 percent of Netherlands banking customers interested in being able to easily cancel unwanted subscriptions within their digital banks. Moreover, 90 percent say that subscription management offered by their bank would improve their financial health.
While solutions, such as Minna Technologies, have begun to gain adoption, the market opportunity is vast and vital for consumers.