Sendcloud nabs $177M led by SoftBank to double down on SaaS — shipping as a service

E-commerce has undoubtedly seen a huge boost in growth in the last year and a half of Covid-19 living, with people turning to the web and apps to shop for essentials and not-so-essentials to keep their social distance, and using delivery services to receive their goods rather than picking things up in person.

Today, a Dutch startup called Sendcloud that has built a service to help retailers with the latter of these — providing a cloud-based to easily organize and carry out shipping services by choosing from a wide range of carriers and other options — is announcing $177 million in funding, a major investment that speaks not just to Sendcloud’s recent growth, but of the demand in the market for what it does: provide an efficient and viable alternative to simply turning to Amazon for fulfillment, or going through the manual and costly process of sorting out shipping directly with the companies that provide it.

“We try to provide Amazon-level logistics to all the other merchants out there,” Rob van den Heuvel, Sendcloud’s CEO and co-founder, said in an interview. Pre-lock down, he said the company — which now has 23,000 customers — was seeing on average between 70% and 80% growth each year. During lockdown that went up to 120%, with 133% increases in parcel volumes, “And we have not seen volumes going down since,” he added.

Softbank Vision Fund 2 — a prolific investor in the many parts of the e-commerce ecosystem — is leading this Series C, with L Catterton and HPE Growth also participating. This by far the biggest investment Sendcloud has ever had: the Eindhoven, Netherlands-based startup has been around since 2012 and before now had raised just over $23 million ($23 million, 23,000 customers has a nice ring to it.)

Van den Heuvel confirmed that the startup is not disclosing its valuation with this round although a source very close to the deal tells us it’s around $750 million.

As a point of reference, Shippo — a U.S. company operating in a similar space but with 100,000 customers to Sendcloud’s 23,000 — in June raised money at a $1 billion valuation. Shippo has, however, also raised significantly more money and will have had its valuation ratcheting up as a result of that, too. On Sendcloud’s side, our source pointed out that it’s demonstrated a very strong amount of capital efficiency in its growth.

The gap in the market that Sendcloud (and would-be rivals like Shippo and Stamps.com) is addressing is a very clear one. E-commerce is now a major channel for retailers of all sizes, and as the market continues to mature, customers buying online or in-person but still getting their goods delivered are getting more sophisticated in terms of what they expect in service levels.

The issue is that smaller retailers — realistically, anyone that is not Amazon, but especially those new to the e-commerce arena — typically don’t have systems in place to manage that delivery process in an efficient way. The very smallest, Van den Heuvel said, physically go to post offices to mail packages; and the bigger ones may order pick-up and shipping directly from specific carriers but find it costly to scale up from there, and to do so in a flexible way that ensures that they are getting the best prices and the best levels of service and the most options in terms of timings.

Amazon has in many ways set the bar for how shipping and delivery work, and in terms of what customers expect. It makes it easy for customers to expect and get fast and free shipping by way of its Prime membership club. It has a vast network of operations for itself and third parties it works with, and is increasingly directly controlling the different parts of that machine.  And, critically, it already provides shipping as a service, plus a wider range of warehousing and other options — wrapped up in the company’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) product.

Sendcloud essentially is an aggregator and integrator that brings together the longer tail of e-commerce technology providers used by retailers — it has over 50 integrations with the likes of Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Amazon and so on — with the range of companies that carry out shipping and delivery services — the DHL, UPS, FedEx, DPD and so on, more than 35 in all currently (and growing). It’s a very fragmented market on both ends of that, and so this is about bringing that together in a seamless way so that retailers can just search for and pick services that work for their needs. And this is all automated and integrated into their check-out: picking shippers and organising it ceases to be a manual effort.

It provides its tools in freemium tiers: a no-cost “essentials” for the smallest users, with the next tier at €40 per month, then €89 and €179 per month depending on the size of business.

Sendcloud sits in the same category as startups that have been addressing the physical aspect of e-commerce in other areas like freight forwarding and warehousing, by building cloud-based platforms to knit the many providers of those services together in a way that hadn’t been digitized previously. Doing so in the area of shipping and delivery, an area that is only getting more ubiquitous and expected by consumers, represents a massive opportunity: the delivery market is expected to grow from $475 billion today to $591 billion in 2024, the company estimates. It may be a pain point that that the average consumer never has to deal with on an organizational level as much as retailers do, but as e-commerce continues to grow, so too will the need for this to work correctly, to keep consumers happy.

“Growing parcel volume and demand for flexible delivery have increased the need for smart shipping solutions amongst online merchants,” said Yanni Pipilis, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “Sendcloud has built a leading all-in-one shipping platform that aims to help merchants easily integrate functionalities such as checkout, shipping, tracking, returns, and analytics. We are pleased to partner with Rob and the Sendcloud team to support their mission of fueling the next wave of e-commerce enablement.” 

“Sendcloud’s scalable, intuitive, and highly localized platform is at the forefront of enabling sophisticated shipping for online merchants across Europe,” added Christopher North, managing partner at L Catterton. “We are excited to partner with the exceptional Sendcloud team to leverage our consumer-focused e-commerce experience and deep expertise working with high-growth technology and software businesses to drive continued innovation and position the Company for growth globally.” 

Sendcloud said that SoftBank Investment Advisors’ Neil Cunha-Gomes and Monika Wilk, and L Catterton’s Ido Krakowsky, are all joining its board.

Healios raises $10M to scale its mental health platform for children scarred by the COVID-19 pandemic

Heaven knows what will happen to the mental health of children who’ve gone through this past year but if there’s one thing we need right now it’s mental health provision for young people that can scale. And as much as some of us can’t bear the thought of another video call, a UK startup reckons it’s come up with the magic formula for online therapy for children.

Now, Healios has raised a £7 million ($10M) Series A round to expand its platform across the UK. If the roll-out is successful, the startup is looking at expanding internationally. The round was led by InHealth Ventures with participation from existing investors AlbionVC.

Healios will use the funding to expand its AI, machine learning, and data science expertise, as well as add to the team. Healios says its platform digitises the clinical pathway, enabling children, adults, and their family members to use clinical services at home.

According to UK government statistics, one in eight (12.8%) five to 19-year-olds in the UK have a mental health disorder but two-thirds are unable to access NHS care because of soaring demands. And the Covid-19 pandemic has made things worse.

Launched in 2013, Healios says it has now worked with 65% of NHS Mental Health Trusts, with 70,000 specialized clinical sessions delivered, which is a high success rate for a startup, considering how hard it is to get NHS approval.

The online, family-focused therapy program for young people zeros in on psychosis and schizophrenia. Healios says that studies have shown involving family members from the start can reduce suicide by as much as 90%. It also covers anxiety, low mood, autism and ADHD, as well as support to their families.

Unlike some startups in the area of mental health, Healios is not a marketplace of advisers but is an end-to-end provider of these services.

InHealth Ventures and InHealth Group Chair, Richard Bradford, will be joining the Healios board, alongside Cat McDonald of AlbionVC.

Rich Andrews, Founder, and CEO of Healios, said: “This funding will help us reach more families in need and enable us to develop further sector-leading interventions and therapies. By bringing together clinical experts and giving them the tools to reach their patients regardless of where they are, we are closing the access gap which has plagued mental health provision for far too long.”

Andrews also told me: “A young person will have an initial mental health assessment with us. If needed, we’ll make a diagnosis and then they’ll move on to other interventions with us, so this is a seamless experience.”

Dr Ben Evans, Managing Director of InHealth Ventures, said: “Healios is a standard-bearer for healthcare innovation. They bring together clinical excellence with digital expertise, working in partnership with the NHS to address a critical, but complex area of care delivery. Healios’ work to date speaks for itself; their holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment has had a substantive impact on clinical outcomes and patient experience.”

Cat McDonald, Investor at AlbionVC, added: “Covid has engendered a pace of innovation previously unseen in healthcare. In particular, we have seen that remote care not only works, but often works much better than traditional alternatives. The option to receive care remotely, at home and in a family-centric setting is the strong preference of most kids suffering from poor mental health.”

Apple Music, Books, iTunes, App Store and more are experiencing outages

Several high-level Apple services are experiencing issues and outages on Wednesday morning, Apple has confirmed. These issues are impacting a number of consumer-facing services including Apple Music and Radio, Apple Books, and the App Store platforms across both iOS devices and Mac.

For some users, the services are down. For example, there were reports circulating this morning that users were having problems streaming music through Apple Music or using iTunes. Other have noticed strange problems cropping up on the App Store — like app search results that only returned a small handful of top apps related to the search term.

Even when the services are partially up, they’re sometimes much slower to load than usual — meaning users may see blank pages for several seconds before the page is populated with its usual content.

Image Credits: Apple

At the time of the initial reports, Apple’s Status page didn’t reflect these issues, as it showed all services as being available. That has since changed. Now, the page displays outages are occurring across the App Store, Apple Book, Apple Music, Apple Music Radio, iTunes Store, Mac App Store, and Radio.

The Apple Support Twitter account has also posted about the outage, but has yet to provide details about what has happened or when it might be resolved.

What’s concerning is that the account replied to a tweet with a complaint from a user who said they couldn’t reset their password — an indication that the outages could be impacting other types of backend services, as well.

Apple says it’s working to provide us with more information on this, and we’ll update when the company has more to share.

Pet Store Product Managers Struggle To Find The Love

Pet store product managers are searching for ways to make their stores profitable
Pet store product managers are searching for ways to make their stores profitable
Image Credit: Anders Porter

I have a dog. I suspect that many of you have pets also. I can only speak for myself, but I sure seem to spend a lot of money on food, leashes, toys, clothes, etc. for my dog. You would think with this need to keep buying things in order to take care of my pet, pet store product managers would have a very easy life. It turns out that you would be wrong. So what’s going on here – why are pet store product managers struggling and do they need to change their product development definition?


What’s Wrong With Pet Stores?

It was just a few years ago that two of the largest pet stores were purchased by private equity firms that saw great potential in them. One of the stores, Chewy.com was an online pet store and the other, PetSmart operated a lot of walk in stores. Although either one of these purchases could have resulted in big profits, so far neither one has panned out. The online company, Chewy.com is still trying to pay down their debt even as their growth has slowed down. PetSmart went through a period of non-growth before finally starting to grow again.

You would think that this would be a great market for product managers to focus on. It turns out that over two-thirds of the homes in the U.S. own a pet. Last year these animal owners spent US$70B on such items as pet food, veterinary care, supplies, and other pet related services. This number is up from the $40B that we spent on our pets just a decade ago. If you could capture even a portion of that, it sure would look good on your product manager resume.

One of the biggest problems that pet store product managers have encountered is that they have been unable to capture a great deal of pet owner’s spending. The reason for this is that popular high-end dog food such as Blue Buffalo have started selling their product in places such as Target and Walmart. Likewise, online firms such as Amazon and Chewy.com have offered to ship heavy bags of dog food for free thus cutting into profits that PetSmart can generate.


How Are Pet Store Product Managers Going To Turn Things Around?

All of these changes have created a real challenge for the pet store product managers. The PetSmart product managers have decided that they can’t fight the online pet supply vendors and so they have decided to join them. The customer bases that the two major pet stores are going after are different. PetSmart views its customer base as being a mature customer base. On the other hand, Chewy.com is more focused on attempting to acquire new customers.

The PetSmart product managers realize that they have a problem on their hands and they are taking steps to try to solve it. PetSmart has suffered from fewer people coming into their stores, competition from online competitors, and food manufacturers who broadened their distribution to other stores. The PetSmart product managers have responded to these challenges by expanding their veterinary services. They have also improved their grooming facilities. The goal is to find ways to encourage customers to make more trips to their store.

One of the challenges that pet store product managers are facing is that they are dealing with slim margins. Between 60% – 70% of the cost of a bag of dog food goes back to the manufacturer. When items are sold online, the seller also has to deal with marketing and shipping costs that can both eat into their profit margin. One way to deal with this is for pet stores to sell prescription pet medicines online and encourage their customers to sign up for automatic refill shipments. Product managers also have to keep their eyes on Amazon who can bundle heavy bags of dog food with other products ordered by customers. Amazon has also introduced their own line of premium pet food to compete in the market.


What All Of This Means For You

There are a lot of pets out there. Those pets have many needs: food, toys, clothes, etc. One would think that it would be easy to be a pet store product manager because you would always have people needing your products. However, the reality turns out to be much different and pet store product managers have to take a close look at their product manager job description because they are struggling to find ways to make their stores profitable.

There are two large pet store chains that dominate the pet store market. PetSmart operates a large number of walk-in stores and Chewy.com runs a popular online pet supply company. Both companies are currently struggling to become profitable. U.S. pet owners spend over $70B on their pets each year. Pet store product managers are struggling because they have not been able to capture as much of the pet spending as they would like to have. PetSmart has decided that they are going to start to offer their products online in order to better compete with Chewy.com. The PetSmart product managers are also rolling out new offerings as they expand their veterinary services and enhance their grooming services. The pet store product managers are struggling because of the low margins that are associated with products like dog food. Additionally, Amazon is now starting to move into the pet supply market and this may make things even more difficult in the future.

Pet store product managers are in a good place in such that their customers do need their products. In fact, their customers have clearly shown that they are willing to spend to get the products that these product managers are offering. However, competition and low margins are making life difficult for these product managers. What they are going to have to do is to find ways to offer products that no one else offers in order to attract more repeat business. We’ll have to see if pet store product managers can get their stores to start to obey.


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™


Question For You: What new services do you think that pet store product managers could start to offer in order to generate more repeat business?


Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I can only speak for myself, but if I was a product manager who was put in charge of a marijuana product, I would be very, very happy. Think about it, what does every product manager want: we want our customers to want our product. When it comes to the product development definition for marijuana, there is no question that it is a very popular product. In fact, with the recent change in laws that has made marijuana legal for a number of different activities, more and more new products that have marijuana in them are being created and introduced. One of the biggest growth areas is drinks that have been infused with cannabis (marijuana). There is only one problem that the product managers of these products will have to deal with: cannabis tastes really, really bad.

The post Pet Store Product Managers Struggle To Find The Love appeared first on The Accidental Product Manager.

Product Managers Start To Deal With The Virtual Assistant Problem

Voice controlled devices can't do a lot of things
Voice controlled devices can’t do a lot of things
Image Credit: Photo by Jan Antonin Kolar 🇨🇿 on Unsplash

So when you walk into the space that you live in, what’s the first thing that you do? For many of us, the first thing that we do is to shout out “Hey, Alexa turn on my music” or “Hey Google, turn on the lights in the kitchen.” These virtual assistants who are always there waiting for our next command to them have become a part of our lives. As powerful as they are, the product managers who make them understand a dirty little secret. They’ve started to hit the wall in terms of what they can do for us.


The Problem With Multistep Systems

I’m more than willing to admit that the virtual assistants that we have invited to live with us are pretty cool. I spend a chunk of each day trying to stump Google with questions such as “Who is Bigfoot” and “How long is the great wall of China?” (note: Google always seems to have an answer for me). However, it turns out that as good as these products are, they can’t do everything that we need them to do for us.

Case in point. Today’s virtual assistants are pretty good at doing the things that we ask them to do. This includes such things as turning on lights, turning down the temperature, and playing a musical playlist. However, where they stumble is when we’d like them to do more than one thing for us. The product development definition for virtual assistants needs to be updated. Virtual assistants do a good job of what they were designed from the beginning to do: connecting all of our services and electronic gadgets and making them work together. In fact, the systems are so clever that they learn our behavior patterns and then they start to anticipate our actions even before we do them.

Where virtual assistants let us down is when it comes to multistep tasks. Multistep tasks are difficult for users to create using a virtual assistant. In order to make a multistep task work in our homes, we often have to go out and purchase additional smart accessories that the virtual assistant can talk to in order to perform some action. Additionally, the virtual assistant has to memorize a specific phrase in order for a multistep task to be initiated.


How To Make Virtual Assistants Better

So what do customers want from their virtual assistants? What product managers are starting to learn is that we don’t want to have to use 1,000 commands to control 1,000 devices. What seems to have happened is that today’s virtual assistants have hit a wall – they are able to perform a limited number of tasks well and that’s pretty much it. Sadly, our virtual assistants assume too much. They believe that we understand what our needs are and what devices in our house will take care of them. Often we don’t.

So what should these virtual assistants be doing? It’s actually pretty simple. What they should be doing is watching us and then adapting to our specific needs. If product managers can make this happen, then we’ll have something to add to our product manager resume. This is the kind of proactive help that we are all looking for. The product managers who are responsible for the virtual assistants from Amazon, Google, Apple, and even Samsung all believe that they are making progress towards this goal. The products are being designed to constantly learn from usage and by doing so they can become more automated and personalized.

In order to be able to deliver the functionality that users want, the virtual assistants are going to have to be able to collect more of their user’s activity and personal data. The product managers are going to have to develop smarter machine learning tools that will run directly on the devices themselves. Customers are going to end up having to purchase internet enabled versions of just about everything that they currently own. Additionally, they’ll have to make sure that the devices that they have will work with the brand of virtual assistant that they choose to use. The goal is to get the various systems in your house to work in harmony. Product managers are going to have to find ways to make this happen without requiring their customers to program their virtual assistants.


What All Of This Means For You

Virtual assistants have arrived and most of us have a least one of these devices somewhere in our houses. These devices are very powerful and we can command them to do a long list of tasks for us. However, it turns out that they are not perfect. Virtual assistant product managers know that they have a challenge on their hands and they have t take a look at their product manager job description and try to come up with ways to deal with this issue.

Virtual assistants have worked their ways into our lives. It’s not uncommon for people to ask questions of their virtual assistant during the course of a given day. However, as good as these devices are at doing a single task for us, they fall down when we ask them to do multiple things at the same time. They do connect things together, but they can’t handle multistep requests. To get them to do many things, we have to purchase additional hardware. We also don’t want to have to memorize a long list of commands to get the device to do what we want it to do. Virtual assistants should watch us and learn based on what we do. In order to make this happen, product managers are going to have to collect more data on us and they are going to have to give virtual assistants more processing power. Product managers need to find a way to get virtual assistants to perform multiple step tasks without requiring programming.

The good news is that virtual assistants already do a great deal. However, as owners we really need them to do more. We need our virtual assistants to be able to perform the multistep tasks that we perform ourselves today. Product managers understand our needs and they are in the process of working towards this goal. Once virtual assistants are able to do all of the tasks that we do, that is when they will become indispensable parts of our lives.


– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™


Question For You: Do you think that it is possible for a virtual assistant to have too much data about its owner?


Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Product Manager Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Product Manager Newsletter are now available. It’s your product – it’s your career. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’d like to tell you that the calling to become a product manager is only received by those of us with the highest morals. However, I really can’t say that. What this means is that in the world of product managers, there are the good ones and the not so good ones. I like to spend my time talking about what the goods ones are able to accomplish. However, every so often the bad ones do something that is so clearly bad that I feel compelled to talk about it. It turns out that some of the bad ones work for Greenway Health and they have done some bad things.

The post Product Managers Start To Deal With The Virtual Assistant Problem appeared first on The Accidental Product Manager.

App Store customer spending hit record $1.42B from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve

Apple this morning released a year-end retrospective of its Services business, which includes the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, and new in 2019, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, Apple News+, and Apple Card. In particular, the company highlighted new holiday 2019 records set on the App Store which sees over a half a billion visits from people in 155 countries per week. To date, App Store developers have earned over $155 billion, Apple noted.

What’s remarkable is that a quarter of those earnings came in last year alone.

Apple also noted it saw a busy holiday season on the App Store with customers spending reaching $1.42 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve — a 16% increase over 2018.

On New Year’s Day, customers spend $386 million alone — a 20% increase over 2019 and a new single-day record.

The company confirmed the year’s top 10 free and paid apps and games, with YouTube, Facetune, Mario Kart Tour and Minecraft snagging the No. 1 positions. (Full lists are below). Apple Arcade, meanwhile, grew to include over 100 games.

Beyond the App Store, Apple touted some of the major achievements for its other Services businesses, but not in terms of revenue generated.

For example, it said that more than 50% of Apple Music listeners tried the time-synced lyrics feature on iOS 13. It also noted that its Apple TV+ shows received Golden Globe and SAG nominations in year one. And it said Apple News now as over 100 million monthly active users in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada.

On the podcasting front, Apple noted its Podcasts app now includes over 800,000 shows in 155 countries. For comparison’s sake, its chief rival Spotify has over 500,000.

Apple Pay allowed entry to more than 150 stadiums, ballparks, arenas and entertainment venues around the world was available with contactless tickets in 2019, and users could ride public transit in Shanghai, Beijing, Tokyo, Moscow, London, and New York. This year, more cities are being added, including Washington D.C., Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Foshan, plus several U.S. universities.

In terms of security, over 75% of iCloud users have enabled two-factor authentication, Apple noted.

“2019 was the biggest year for Services in Apple’s history. We introduced several exciting new experiences for our customers, all while setting the standard for user privacy and security,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, in a statement. “We begin the new decade with incredible momentum and gratitude to our customers who have shown such enthusiasm for all of our Services, and we continue to celebrate the work of the world’s best creators, storytellers, journalists and developers,” he added.

Top Apps of 2019

Top Free iPhone Apps
  1. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream
  2. Instagram
  3. Snapchat
  4. TikTok – Make Your Day
  5. Messenger
  6. Gmail – Email by Google
  7. Netflix
  8. Facebook
  9. Google Maps – Transit & Food
  10. Amazon – Shopping made easy
Top Paid iPhone Apps
  1. Facetune
  2. HotSchedules
  3. Dark Sky Weather
  4. The Wonder Weeks
  5. AutoSleep Tracker for Watch
  6. TouchRetouch
  7. Procreate Pocket
  8. Sky Guide
  9. Toca Hair Salon 3
  10. Scanner Pro: PDF Scanner App
Top Free iPhone Games
  1. Mario Kart Tour
  2. Color Bump 3D
  3. aquapark.io
  4. Call of Duty: Mobile
  5. BitLife – Life Simulator
  6. Polysphere – art of puzzle
  7. Wordscapes
  8. Fortnite
  9. Roller Splat!
  10. AMAZE!!
Top Paid iPhone Games
  1. Minecraft
  2. Heads Up!
  3. Plague Inc.
  4. Bloons TD 6
  5. Geometry Dash
  6. Rebel Inc.
  7. The Game of Life
  8. Stardew Valley
  9. Bloons TD 5
  10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Subscription fatigue hasn’t hit yet

U.S. consumers are still embracing subscriptions. More than a third (34%) of Americans say they believe they’ll increase the number of subscription services they use over the next two years, according to a new report from eMarketer. This is following an increase to 3 subscription services on average, up from 2.4 services five years ago.

The report cited data from subscription platform Zuora and The Harris Poll in making these determinations.

The study also debunks the idea that we’ve reached a point of subscription fatigue.

While only a third is planning to increase the number of subscriptions — a figure that’s in line with the worldwide average — the larger majority of U.S. internet users said they planned to use the same number of subscriptions services within two years as they do now.

In other words, they’re not paring down their subscriptions just yet — in fact, only 7 percent said they planned to subscribe to fewer services in the two years ahead.

However, that’s both good news and bad news for the overall subscription industry. On the one hand, it means there’s a healthy base of potential subscribers for new services. But it also means that many people may only adopt a new subscription by dropping another — perhaps to maintain their current budget.

Subscriptions, after all, may still feel like luxuries. No one needs Netflix, Spotify, groceries delivered to their home or curated clothing selections sent by mail, for example. There are non-subscription alternatives that are much more affordable. The question is which luxuries are worth the recurring bill?

The survey, however, did not define subscription services, which could include news and magazine subscriptions, digital streaming services, subscription box services, and more. But it did ask about consumers’ interest in the various categories.

Over half of U.S. consumers (57%) said they were interested in TV and video-on-demand services (like Netflix) and 38 percent were interested in music services.

Related to this, eMarketer forecasts U.S. over-the-top video viewers will top 193 million by 2021, or 57.3 percent of the population. Digital audio listeners will top 211 million by the same time, or 63.1 percent of the population.

The next most popular subscriptions in the survey were grocery delivery like AmazonFresh (32%) and meal delivery like Blue Apron (21%). Software and storage services like iCloud and subscription beauty services like Ipsy followed, each with 17 percent.

Consumers were less interested in subscription news and information and subscription boxes — the latter only saw 10 percent interest, in fact.

The figures should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. The meal kit market is actually struggling. The consulting firm NPD Group estimated that only 4 percent of U.S. consumers have even tried them. So there’s a big disconnect between what consumers say they’re interested in, and what they actually do.

Meanwhile, the supposedly less popular news and information services market is, in some cases, booming. The New York Times, for instance, just this month posted a higher profit and added 223,000 digital subscribers to reach 4.5 million paying customers. And Apple now has “hundreds of people” working on Apple News+, it said this week. 

Of course, consumers will at some point reach a limit on the number of services they’re willing to pay for, but for the time being, the subscription economy appears solid.

 

Subscription fatigue hasn’t hit yet

U.S. consumers are still embracing subscriptions. More than a third (34%) of Americans say they believe they’ll increase the number of subscription services they use over the next two years, according to a new report from eMarketer. This is following an increase to 3 subscription services on average, up from 2.4 services five years ago.

The report cited data from subscription platform Zuora and The Harris Poll in making these determinations.

The study also debunks the idea that we’ve reached a point of subscription fatigue.

While only a third is planning to increase the number of subscriptions — a figure that’s in line with the worldwide average — the larger majority of U.S. internet users said they planned to use the same number of subscriptions services within two years as they do now.

In other words, they’re not paring down their subscriptions just yet — in fact, only 7 percent said they planned to subscribe to fewer services in the two years ahead.

However, that’s both good news and bad news for the overall subscription industry. On the one hand, it means there’s a healthy base of potential subscribers for new services. But it also means that many people may only adopt a new subscription by dropping another — perhaps to maintain their current budget.

Subscriptions, after all, may still feel like luxuries. No one needs Netflix, Spotify, groceries delivered to their home or curated clothing selections sent by mail, for example. There are non-subscription alternatives that are much more affordable. The question is which luxuries are worth the recurring bill?

The survey, however, did not define subscription services, which could include news and magazine subscriptions, digital streaming services, subscription box services, and more. But it did ask about consumers’ interest in the various categories.

Over half of U.S. consumers (57%) said they were interested in TV and video-on-demand services (like Netflix) and 38 percent were interested in music services.

Related to this, eMarketer forecasts U.S. over-the-top video viewers will top 193 million by 2021, or 57.3 percent of the population. Digital audio listeners will top 211 million by the same time, or 63.1 percent of the population.

The next most popular subscriptions in the survey were grocery delivery like AmazonFresh (32%) and meal delivery like Blue Apron (21%). Software and storage services like iCloud and subscription beauty services like Ipsy followed, each with 17 percent.

Consumers were less interested in subscription news and information and subscription boxes — the latter only saw 10 percent interest, in fact.

The figures should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. The meal kit market is actually struggling. The consulting firm NPD Group estimated that only 4 percent of U.S. consumers have even tried them. So there’s a big disconnect between what consumers say they’re interested in, and what they actually do.

Meanwhile, the supposedly less popular news and information services market is, in some cases, booming. The New York Times, for instance, just this month posted a higher profit and added 223,000 digital subscribers to reach 4.5 million paying customers. And Apple now has “hundreds of people” working on Apple News+, it said this week. 

Of course, consumers will at some point reach a limit on the number of services they’re willing to pay for, but for the time being, the subscription economy appears solid.