Latest stats from TWC Trends have highlighted the extent of the online explosion when it comes to digitalisation and delivery of food and drink and the impact on convenience and foodservice with more recent data showing that subscription services are rapidly taking hold.

TWC Trends shows that consumers are 3x more likely now (than before the Pandemic) to say that at least 80% of their retail interactions are digital in nature.  Alongside this, subscription box services are being adopted fast – a market that is set to grow 72% by 2022 with UK residents currently spending an average of £2 billion on subscriptions every year.

According to TWC’s development director, Tom Fender, the market is ripe for subscription services with the average spend on a subscription box currently ranging from £7.5 to £30.

“The big one of course, is Netflix, which now has over 16.7 million subscribers here in the UK. However, subscription box services are rapidly emerging in every compartment of our lives, whether groceries, health and beauty products, contact lenses, wines, beers and general living.  Food remains the most popular subscription box in the UK but it covers anything that is bought on a repeat or regular basis.

“The data shows that women are more likely to sign up for subscription services than men are and right now, London is the epicentre of services but this looks set to spread fast to the regions.

“One could argue that for businesses who have based their offer on subscriptions, they know exactly what they are delivering when which avoids the highs and lows in supply that we have seen over the past few months whether due to Brexit Covid or delivery driver shortages.  Commensurately, consumers are believed to feel more secure in the knowledge that they will be receiving their regular goods”.

“Right now, delivery issues are dominating the media headlines.  There’s an irony that as demand grows and comfort factors increase around the ease and use of online ordering, we are now in a position where fulfilment cannot keep pace!  You can have the best online platform in the world but if you can’t get the products delivered, it’s all worthless!

“In London alone, the number of available drivers has fallen by 14% whilst shifts and demand has soared by 53%.  It’s not hard to see that we are about to enter a period of real disconnect that has no short-term quick fix.  It is becoming apparent that the market for subscription services will benefit from this current driver shortage.

Fender concludes:

“As brands go digital, or go direct as B2B businesses learn new channels, we believe that digitalisation, the economy and Millennials will drive lasting changes to consumer behaviour with subscription services.

Figures show that the UK is topping the leader-boards when it comes to its digital economy.  The ecommerce market in the UK* is the largest in Europe, (*Statista) and it is reported to be the 3rd highest digital economy in the world (lagging a mere 0.1% behind China and South Korea).  The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the online trend, seeing 10 years’ worth of growth in just a few months.

The digital sector contributes over £149billion to our economy and is a key source of jobs with more than 1.5 million people working in related businesses.

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