Aussies cull subscriptions in cost-of-living crisis

Consumers are culling subscriptions at a sizeable rate to deflect hip pocket pain.

National Australia Bank data shows 37 per cent of Australians have cut back on a streaming service in the past three months, while 33 per cent have reduced spending on subscriptions such as magazines, apps and other goods and products.

The survey polled 2000 NAB customers.

Generation Z (those born from the mid-to-late 1990s to the early 2010s) are most likely to cut back on a streaming service, the NAB data shows.

NAB retail customer executive Larna Manson said many Australians were making “smarter spending decisions” by cleaning up their subscriptions to help contend with higher living costs.

“Australians might be surprised to find out just how many subscriptions they’ve signed up to without even realising,” Ms Manson said.

Getting rid of old, unused or expensive subscriptions is saving the “average” Australian $670 a year, the data finds.

A 2023 report from consulting giant Deloitte found the average Australian had 2.6 subscription viewing on demand services, up from 2.3 in 2021.

Ms Manson said changes such as shared family accounts, shopping for deals and downgrading subscriptions could make a large difference to a budget.

Consumers needed to beware of “stick subscriptions” though, Ms Manson said, services that are hard to cancel.

University of Tasmania retail marketing senior lecturer Louise Grimmer said signing up to most things was simple, and unsubscribing was often more difficult because companies required consumers to call during business hours or go through the account settings.

“While it might seem like a daunting exercise, sitting down to take stock of what you’re signed up to can save you a lot of money, and tools from your bank can help you easily categorise and break down your spend,” Dr Grimmer said.

The latest inflation figures this week have reduced the likelihood of an interest-rate cut this year.

The inflation figures show insurance premiums have gone up 16.3 per cent in the past year as rents went up 7.8 per cent.

The consumer price index rose 1 per cent in the first three months of 2024.

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