Study: Subscription service usage in China beats out US/UK

China has a higher rate of subscription services across all categories compared with the US and UK, according to a new research report by Digitas.

According to the latest “Digitas Subscription Study-China Market” research report, the majority of Chinese adults find subscription services valuable and most are currently participating in a subscription program. TV/movie services (60%) was the top category for subscriptions among Chinese adults, followed by groceries (49%), clothing and accessories (49%), transportation(48%), and music(45%).

Research also found that Chinese subscribers have an average of two or more subscriptions in the same category, which is higher when compared with US and UK respondents. Over half of Chinese subscribers have more than one subscription in the gaming, clothing, personal care, TV/movie, prepared meals, grocery, and books categories.

Chinese subscribers value convenience and savings, as well as variety and selection when it comes to subscribing. 50% of Chinese respondents think making life easier is the top benefit of subscribing for services, other attractive benefits include access to a large variety/selection (49%), and saving money (48%). The study also shows that Chinese subscribers are more likely than US and UK subscribers to value benefits in personalisation, receiving exclusive member only deals, and trying new things. 

“We can see subscription services are very popular in China. The takeaway, however, is how to personalise the services and content to best utilise their popularity,” said Sharon Ho, managing director of Digitas China.

“One reason people are using subscription services is because they want to simplify their lives and this means receiving services and content that is catered to their personal preferences, interests, and needs. Marketers can leverage this insight to ensure their subscription accounts reach customers on an individual level and need basis.”

She added that ensuring that subscription content is original, fresh, and relevant to its audience is essential to maintaining subscriber interest, which eventually might have a knock-on effect on subscription rates.

The study also reveals subscribers in China prefer to receive information on deals via push notification (52%) or social media ads (50%), while the majority of subscribers in the US and UK prefer to receive information via email. Only 15% of Chinese subscribers preferred receiving communications via chatbots. 

“Communication is a two-way street. Today, there are a lot more platforms to connect with your target customers and more technological capabilities to better track consumer behaviour but at the end of the day it still comes down to deeply understanding what experience your customers and potential customers are craving, and then having the openness and flexibility to adapt your services, content, and experiences accordinglstudy4y,” Ho said.