The Subscription Surge: How To Win The Hearts Of Gen-Z


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The Scoop

The Subscription Surge: How To Win The Hearts Of Gen-Z

60% of Gen-Z have signed up for one to three subscription services within the past year…

Across the board, subscription services are soaring, with e-commerce subscriptions seeing over 100% growth each year for the past five years.

For Gen-Z subscription services have unquestionably become an integral part of their lifestyle. You only need to look at the widespread Gen-Z adoption of the Pret A Manger coffee subscription service, who have in turn seen their profit more than double from £19.6 million in 2018 to £50.6 million in 2022. And they’re not alone. From mystery beauty boxes to at-home cooking kits, we just can’t seem to get enough!

When it comes to brand discovery, using the audience insights platform, GWI, we found that 31.6% of Gen-Z find new brands or products via ads seen on social media, with the second highest discovery route being recommendations and comments on social media (18.9%). This matched the consensus of the recent Gen-Z focus group we ran, where TikTok was noted as being the starting point for brand discovery and awareness. One Gen-Zer stated:

“I don’t read reviews online but listen to recommendations from people around me and on social media…”

Yet, for Gen-Z the journey from brand discovery to purchase is influenced by myriad factors. So what leads to purchase motivation? We ran a focus group to find out and here’s what we learned:

Our focus group stated that the ability to cancel whenever, free trials, introductory offers and free delivery made them more likely to try a new subscription service. 

This matches the data we found using the audience insights platform, GWI, who surveyed over 5,500 Gen-Zers and asked them:

What would motivate you to purchase a product when shopping online?

  • Free delivery (53.5%)
  • Coupons and discounts (35.1%)
  • Reviews from other customers (27.7%)

In the wake of the cost-of-living crisis, the overarching wave of Gen-Z sentiment from our focus group agreed that social content focusing on these attributes encouraged purchases across every industry. It was noted that subscriptions are often seen as a luxury, a so-called “nice to have”. So standing out as a brand in this space is vital, with one of our focus group members stating: 

“I would be more likely to be influenced by something which was a one time purchase…” 

Additionally, the purchase journey for subscription services doesn’t just stop at the point of purchase, instead the companies that stood out for our Gen-Z focus group had ongoing incentives throughout the subscription. Some of their favourite brands for this included: Spotify, Freddie’s Flowers and Hello Fresh.

From the data, we can see that social media is the way to hit the sweet spot for Gen-Z when it comes to building awareness and discovery. With this in mind, we asked our focus group the advice they would give to subscription brands to create engaging content that appeals to their demographic. Here’s what they said:

  1. The format of the video makes all the difference: Start with the problem, then explain how the subscription is the solution.
  1. Tone is everything: Don't ever shy away from the fact the video is an advert - it comes across as inauthentic to the audience.
  1. Be specific with your targeting: It sounds obvious, but use Gen-Z creators to reach Gen-Z!
  1. Create relatable UGC: From discount deals and tutorials to unboxing videos - this is the content Gen-Z loves!

Are you looking to make your next Gen-Z influencer campaign stand out? We’ve helped hundreds of brands do just that - contact us to find out more!