More Aussies turning off subscriptions

TV remote pointed at streaming services | Newseel
More Aussies are cancelling subscriptions to ease cost-of-living pressures. | Photo: Giullano Benzin (iStock)

A third of Australians cancelled subscriptions for streaming devices and other services in the past three months.

New data from NAB showed Aussies were re-assessing many of their set-and-forget subscriptions.

As cost-of-living pressures continued to bite, 37 percent of people cut back on a streaming service last quarter and 33 percent cut spending on other subscriptions, like magazines, apps, goods and services.

The data showed the trend was accelerating with the rate of cancellations growing by 10 percent, compared to the same time year.

It showed Generation Z were the most likely to cut back on a streaming service (45 percent) or other subscriptions (42 percent).

Most people were saving, on average, $65 a month through the rationalisation.

NAB Retail Customer Executive Larna Manson said Australians would be surprised at how many subscriptions they had signed up to without even realising.

“You might have got to the end of a series or eBook, don’t need extra cloud storage for photos, changed up your meal plans or cooking or don’t need such regular deliveries of wine, toiletries or clothes and apparel,” Ms Manson said.

“Even small changes like opening a shared family account to split costs, looking for more budget friendly options without the bells and whistles, or downgrading your plan can make a big difference.”

She said Australians looking to cancel or pause deliveries or services may have encountered “sticky subscriptions”, which could make it trickier or take longer to cancel a service.

University of Tasmania Senior Lecturer in Retail Marketing Dr Louise Grimmer said some goods and services made it more difficult to unsubscribe.

“While in most cases signing up is as easy as just a few clicks, unsubscribing can often be much harder and it may be difficult to find the option to cancel or pause your service or delivery,” Dr Grimmer said.

“You might have to call up during business hours or live chat to cancel, those options might not be available on your mobile, they might be buried deep in account settings, or you might be tempted with offers to stay.

“Common traps also include forgetting about annual subscriptions you’re signed up to that can be charged in one hit, missing renewal reminder emails or even paying for the same subscription multiple times.”

Top tips to manage your subscriptions:

  • Stocktake: Write a list of your regular subscriptions, which accounts they come out of, how often they are debited and how much they cost.
  • Explore options: Pausing a service can help you work out if you still use it, downgrading, choosing a cheaper plan or switching to a shared family or partner plan can help you save money.
  • De-clutter: Cancelling a subscription can usually be done through a platform’s account settings or payment options but may only be possible by calling or live chatting, especially during business hours. Some subscriptions can be cancelled directly through the Apple or Google app store, often with just one click of a button.
  • Bundle: Some platforms offer you the option of bundling multiple subscriptions into one place so you can see and manage them more easily.
  • Don’t feel guilty: Try to resist the temptation of retention offers. Some platforms will offer you discounts, credits or other benefits to stay before you’re able to cancel or pause.
  • Make a reminder: Most platforms will automatically charge you after a free trial period, so set a reminder in your calendar or phone a few days before to re-assess whether you want to keep it.