Report: Status no longer defined by ownership

​The economy of ownership is over, Zuora says

The economy of ownership is over, with a new report showing more than two thirds of Australians have subscription services today.

The latest figures, which feature in a fresh survey undertaken by subscription software provider, Zuora, are up from 49 per cent just five years ago. The survey also found 75 per cent of Australian adults believe in the future people will subscribe to more services and own less physical 'stuff'.

Zuora recently surveyed more than 13,000 respondents from 12 countries around their subscription service habits and intentions. Australian respondents averaged 2.5 subscription services each, and nearly one-third said they expected to have more subscriptions in two years. About two-thirds (67 per cent) of adults also feel a person's status is no longer defined by what they own.

Respondents from China had the highest number of average subscription services (3.6) globally, followed by those from the US and Singapore, each on three.

Zuora vice-president and general manager of Asia-Pacific, Iman Ghodosi, said more than seven in 10 adults surveyed have subscription services, a substantial increase from five years ago.

“The economy is now being driven by a new consumer imperative that favours access over ownership, and vast sectors of the global economy are transforming themselves with pay-as-you-go subscription models built around the customer,” he said. “Commercial goods such as food, clothing and transportation are being re-imagined as utilities to leverage where and when needed, much like water, gas or electricity is consumed today.

“What we’re starting to witness is the end of ownership. People are subscribing to more because they’re getting the experience and outcome they’re looking for, without the burden of possessing things.”

Nearly three-quarters of Australian adults (73 per cent) said they would be willing to subscribe to a product or a service instead of owning it if they could get the same outcome for less money. About the same number believe that in the future people will own less physical ‘stuff’.

“We’re now seeing the subscription economy revolution really taking hold in Australia and New Zealand. It's a new way of thinking about products and consumption, and for businesses it’s about building ongoing relationships with your customers,” Ghodosi added.

“The co-founder and CEO of Zuora, Tien Tzuo, once summed it up like this: ‘The world is switching from capex to opex.’ We’re moving away from a system that asks us to buy and then continually replace products that are designed to fail.”

Two years from now, three in 10 Australian adults think they will have more subscriptions than they do now. Two in five think convenience in this biggest benefit to subscription services, followed by cost savings (37 per cent) and more variety (34 per cent).

The survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Zuora in October 2018 and involved 1040 Australian adults ages 18 and older.

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