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Parks Associates: 20% of US internet households subscribe to a gaming service, and 32% subscribe to a streaming audio service

Landmark study on subscription and membership services provides insights into how service providers can better capitalize on growing service market

Parks Associates research sees a continued wave of subscription service uptake among US households, led by streaming video, retail memberships, and streaming audio, while 20% of households have a gaming subscription, outpacing gym memberships. Parks Associates recently released a new consumer study of 8,000 US internet households, Subscription Memberships and Bundling: Shopping, Video, Gaming, Mobile. The study tracks household adoption of membership and subscription programs and the rise of bundles among various services with different value propositions centered around lifestyle, entertainment, technology, and productivity.

The research finds that streaming entertainment services set the pace for the subscription economy. Currently, 89% of households have a streaming video service, and 32% subscribe to a streaming audio service. One in five internet households subscribe to a gaming service, while 16% have a gym membership.

“The evolution of hardware to a service model and demand to drive engagement and loyalty for brands through apps are driving the rise of subscription services,” said Jennifer Kent, Vice President, Research, Parks Associates. “On the streaming audio side, market leader Spotify’s premium adoption is as high as that of Discovery+, the ninth highest video OTT subscription service.”

Beyond video, retail, and transportation, many categories see large jumps in adoption once household annual income passes $100,000, while many subscription categories see adoption drop-offs after age 45. These households can absorb the high prices for gaming and fitness services, and they prioritize convenience over cost (meal kits, kid/baby subscriptions, delivery service memberships), which adds emphasis to the user experience.

Categories that provide entertainment (music, gaming) and convenience (child/baby, meal service) fare particularly well in terms of customer loyalty. Most categories achieved positive NPS (20+), with even high-priced services (gaming, meal kits) receiving high marks. Internet and traditional pay-TV providers, which traditionally have subpar NPS, can benefit from partnering with – or bundling in – services that garner higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“Competitive pressure will force market challengers to forge stronger ties, e.g., Walmart Plus and Paramount Plus. Subscription bundlers should seek offerings that span entertainment, productivity, and convenience,” Kent said.

The research is available for purchase and part of Parks Associates’ library of consumer and industry research. To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific data, please contact Mindi Sue Sternblitz-Rubenstein at mindi.sue@parksassociates.com or 972-490-1113.

About Parks Associates

Parks Associates, a woman-founded and certified business, is an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services. Founded in 1986, Parks Associates provides business intelligence and research services through its proprietary methodologies developed over decades, including quarterly surveys of 10,000 internet households.

The company's expertise crosses many industries: home security and smart home, streaming video, broadband and pay-TV services, digital media and platforms, gaming, Wi-Fi and home networks, connected health, support, consumer electronics, home control systems, energy management, and tech solutions for the multi-dwelling (MDU), small-to-medium business (SMB), and commercial building markets.

Each year, Parks Associates brings thousands of leaders together for its webinars and annual events. The firm hosts the annual executive research and strategy conferences CONNECTIONS™, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit, Smart Spaces, and Future of Video. https://www.parksassociates.com

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