Music, video, gym…Is life on cons really a good deal?

Investigation – Offers are always more numerous, including unusual services. But the backlog of these commitments could end up weighing on the budget.

They are everywhere in our lives. In our home (internet, energy…), our hobbies (music, video, cinema, journalism, video games, gym…) or our travels (train, bikes, self-service scooter…). Subscriptions are now popular with consumers.

A growing economic model, which is even acquiring new sectors, such as banking – BNP Paribas with its paid banking advisor service – and supermarkets – Casino, Carrefour and Monoprix offering discounts on paid subscription – or even cars – Fiat just launched a non-paid service – a subscription offer Binding starting at €299 per month for a Fiat 500 electric car. Even the most likely: toothbrush, wine, or even pasta.

a The frenzy fueled by the companies themselves“, notes Philip Mwati, co-founder of ObSoCo (the observatory and consumption community), who sees strong economic interest in it.”Subscription generates repeat income and builds customer loyalty“, explains Professor of Economics at the University of Paris Diderot. Thus, it is a good business for companies that have some kind of customer “prisonerOn the other hand, on the consumer side, it is difficult to assess the profitability of this life under subscriptions.

It depends a lot on the consumer’s use of their subscriptions”, confirms Cyril Prossett, journalist for the magazine What do you choose and author of a survey on the topic in 2020. In other words, he obviously pays for a gym membership if you go there three or four times a week. The question arises, on the other hand, if you pull yourself up once every six months. “It’s hard to have a global speech‘, replete with Philip Moai.

Termination difficulties

Once this reasoned observation is made, consumers should remain aware of “trapssurrounding subscriptions. In particular, marketing arguments for brands. “To attract customers, companies highlight the effect of price. So consumers are under the impression that a subscription will cost them less than paying on purchase.Elizabeth Tessier Desbords, Emeritus Professor of Marketing at ESCP Europe notes. But that is not always the case, Judge Olivier Giraud, an attorney with the Consumers Association CLCV, takes as an example.”shoe box“.”I invite people to do the math before signing up“, launch. “And to ask yourself a simple question: Do I really need it?Elisabeth Tessier Desbords adds.

These are perhaps painless sums for a portion of the population, but in the end they are a huge budget drain.

Olivier Giraud, attorney at CLCV

Because in addition to posing a problem”overconsumptionPhilip Mwati thinks subscriptions can be difficult to cancel. Cyril Prossett, author of a study on subscriptions to What do you chooseYou are advised to familiarize yourself with the termination policy before subscribing. “You have to know when and how to disengage, because it varies greatly by service‘, suggests the journalist.

It’s also important”To be aware of the subscriptions one has“Elizabeth Tessier Desbords slips. Because, of course, we often get small amounts, which rarely exceed a few tens of euros per month: 8.99 euros per month for a Netflix subscription, 9.99 euros for Spotify, 5.99 euros for Amazon Prime, 29.95 euros for Fitness Park … . “Perhaps these are painless sums for a part of the population, but in the end they put a huge burden on the budget.Olivier Giraud warns of CLCV.

Particularly among humble families, where expenditures are limited.”heavy weight”, confirms Philip Mwati, from ObSoCo. Their share of the budget is already nearly 70% among the poorest households, according to a study by and CSA Research published at the end of 2021. The expenditures Insee calls “pre-committed» (housing, communications, credits, taxes, etc.), which does not include subscriptions. Multiplying these can thus result inTo impose restrictions on the most important spending items and create a feeling of poverty“, warns the economist, who nevertheless emphasizes that good management,”Subscriptions can save money“.

Forgot subscriptions

The problem is that consumers tend to forget all the subscriptions associated with them. Because once you cancel the subscription, the company automatically deducts the amount every month from the customer’s bank account, without informing them. A study conducted by the UFC-Que Choisir Consumption Observatory, in February 2020, showed that families significantly reduce the number and cost of their subscriptions. While they think they have 3.5 on average, they actually have 6 per household, with a real average of €159 per month (compared to around €98).

In 2016, a survey conducted by Elabe for SlimPay confirmed that a French individual has an average of 5.4 subscriptions. More than a third (38%) said they had subscribed to more than six subscriptions (including 7% to more than 11 subscriptions). The numbers have probably inflated since then, given the growth of the underwriting economy. According to a study on Telecoming published last year, in 2021 the French market had nearly 50 million active subscriptions”,A number that will increase at a rate of 15% year over year to reach 84 million in 2025Subscriptions to cultural digital offerings are taking a good market share: French households have an average of 2.1 – a Netflix subscription is the most popular – with an average monthly spending of €37, according to a recent BearingPoint study.

Consumers who need help seeing more clearly in their subscriptions have apps at their disposal, such as Origame, Idea or Papernest. These provide a place to centralize all subscriptions taken, promising users significant savings. For example, Origame, which has just completed its first fundraising (worth €600,000), claims to have made it possible for its 22,000 users to save more than €600,000 in two years. A persuasive marketing argument, in the context of strong concern on the part of the French for their purchasing power.

Leave a Comment