A global study has put Australia in equal top place for growth rate in subscription usage when compared with countries across Europe, the US, Asia and Oceania.

Commissioned by leading cloud-based subscription management platform provider, Zuora, the survey found that more than three out of four Australian adults (78%) now have at least one subscription service, up from 67% in 2018.

China had the highest percentage of subscribers (89%) followed by Spain and Italy with Australia ranked sixth – just behind New Zealand, but in front of the UK.

Zuora general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Marc Gagne said the results show that Australians have fundamentally changed the way they approach the subscription economy over the last decade.

“Five years ago, only about half of Australian adults said they subscribed to a service. The fact that this figure is now very close to eight in every ten, shows that a major shift has taken place,” he said.

“We know from the research that there are several reasons for the change. It’s true that some are circumstantial – we can’t underestimate the effect of Covid-19, for example – but this is a long-term trend and Australians are flocking to subscriptions for personal reasons, as well.”

As part of the research, respondents were asked about the benefits of subscribing to a product or service instead of owning it, and that the results were telling.

“Convenience was the number one benefit across the world, including in Australia. But it was interesting to note that Australians consider the opportunity to own fewer physical items as a much greater benefit in comparison with the international average,” Gagne said.

“At Zuora we often talk about the end of ownership, and it seems as if Australians are envisioning a world where material possessions become less important and things like service reliability, variety, exclusivity and sustainability become more significant.”

Eight in ten (80%) Australians surveyed agreed with the statement that ‘In the future I believe people will subscribe to more services and own less physical ‘stuff’, higher than the international average of 76%.

Interest in subscriptions for TV and movies on-demand is highest, followed by music services and grocery delivery.

“It’s no surprise that during this pandemic people flocked to entertainment they could enjoy from their couch, as well as alternative ways of ordering groceries. But we’ve also seen very significant increases in subscriptions in the health, education and business-to-business categories,” Gagne said.