We Now Live In a Subscription Society

20 to 30 year-olds have changed our entire way of purchasing things. Millennials typically don’t want to own much, they want to be able to use it – and that’s done through subscriptions or rentals. They’re renting access versus owning things, and it’s changed the business model of vast numbers of companies and entire industries.

Some things we all have to rent or pay monthly because we can’t actually own them. Those include utilities, cable TV, gym memberships and the likes.

Many others just leak out $10 or $20 bucks at a time for years and years. There are now lots of phone apps, some from the major banks in the U.S. to scan your credit cards for subscriptions you may no longer be using but still paying for.

Microsoft Office is $11 a month for life or $79 to buy and own

You cell phone can be $40 (that’s mine) or $50 a month with two or three gigs of data instead of $100 or more

Streaming music subscriptions and Netflix, etc. are going to be $30 or more.

Netflix just hit 150 million subscribers and has single-handedly destroyed the idea of even owing movies on DVD. Want proof? They have over 150 million monthly subscribers and just paid $100 million for one year of the rights to the show Friends.

That’s fine if you’re not also paying for cable. But if you do – that’s a ton of very expensive doubling up

Amazon Prime is $80 a year. Are you really getting value from that or just want something shipped a day faster than I get it without paying for Prime?

Here in Edmonton, as most cities, we now have electric scooters from Lime and Bird. They’re great, but $1.15 to start and then 35 cents a minute. So using it twice a week as a rental will be way more expensive than owing a bike within a month or two.

Getting the use of a vehicle is now available by subscription – or on demand use. Pogo has been around for years and other companies, including the manufacturers such as GM are starting in this area now. You’ll pay based on the time and mileage used and can pick your class or size of the vehicle: small car, sedan, pickup, SUV, luxury, etc., and it’ll usually include insurance coverage as well.

Ask yourself:

What’s the cost of owning vs. renting

Will I use it enough to justify the subscription or membership?

Will I actually notice when the subscribers put through their price increases or will it just keep growing the balance on my credit card?

Will I remember it’s on automatic renewal to cancel it if not being used?

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