What to Expect in 2021 and Beyond? Top Predictions For the Subscription Market and Subscription Management

2020 was an unforgiving year, but one mercy we can expect from it is the lesson that we all can take away from it. And, it is the lesson to learn how unpredictable the future is.

Before heading into a new year, we hope that 2021 won’t be knocked as hard on individuals, businesses, markets, and the economy as 2020 did.

Most businesses plummeted their revenue, shifted to ad-hoc measures to manage their plunging finances, and cut down their business operation that wreaked unemployment, unit shutdowns, wedges slashes, imbalance in production and supply, and more.

2020 has ended but the aftershocks of the horrors of 2020 are continued. The predictions for 2021 are the continuity of the trends and practices of 2020.

2020 has become the key driver behind the forecast for 2021 thus majorly the predictions for 2021 are focused around the challenges 2020 pushed to deal with in a new year.

Grooving on the subscription business model, clearly, the digital companies for IT services, SaaS, and others, food and beverages, health, education, power, telecom, internet, eCommerce, streaming services, and some other streams related to vitals were the thriving industries. However, the 2020 end has an inclination towards some other streams as well such as the automotive industry, airlines, traveling and lodging, smart living, and more.

Before digging into what the industry leaders and changing attributes of today’s times are setting their sights on for the year ahead, let’s begin with an overview of the key happening we have witnessed in the subscription economy in the year 2020.

Wrapping Up 2020—Winning Trends, Subscription Businesses, Practices, etc.

2020 was the year of the digital transformation of society, economy, education, healthcare, and overall, living. Businesses with subscription model have undoubtedly seen the rise as compared to the traditional businesses. Here is a round-up of the year 2020 with three  of the most promising takeaways:

  • Subscription Businesses Showed More Growth than the Non-Recurring Businesses

Streaming services, e-learning, digital media, and content subscriptions, SaaS, personal care, retail subscription, and subscription box businesses show more positive growth on the revenue graph than many of the conventional and non-recurring revenue businesses like the automotive sector, digital appliances, home living, and other manufacturing businesses and some other sectors that were solely based on one-time or upfront revenue model.

  • Switch to Subscription Business Model to Refurnish the Market Capture—The 2020 Leading Trend

Switching to a recurring revenue model was the 2020 trend that will continue to drive the 2021 business landscape as more and more non-recurring industries mentioned above are now looking for opportunities in the subscription economy.

  • The Increasing Dependency on AI/ML for Subscription Market Exploration and Customer Retention

Subscription businesses have shown more interest in their subscribers’ data available in AI-enabled subscription management systems to optimize best practices for billing, customer management, marketing, sales, support, and others.

ML-led Automation, increasing use of AI-enabled price optimization and use of subscription analytics intelligent integration and cross-platform data sharing are a few of the practices that helped the SaaS and subscription businesses for data-driven sales, marketing, and services for quality lead generation, scoring, conversion, and revenue accumulation for the longer term.

2021 Vertex Predictions for the Leading Subscription Business Across the Sectors

The Cloud Industry

The cloud industry was visibly the industry that has managed to continue rolling the wheel for businesses with online applications, infrastructure, and cloud support services. All across the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, the demand for support and services has surged with the overwhelming competition.

It is our future now and will continue to rule with more and better automated, secure, faster, cost and time-efficient, and intelligent solutions for individuals, businesses, and enterprises in 2021 and beyond.

The Healthcare Sector

According to IDC, COVID is the main trigger force to bring more digital transformation in everyday healthcare needs. They predicted that 20% of healthcare organizations will embrace integrated care to improve outcomes during 2021 and 7 of the 10 leading wrist-worn wearables companies will have released algorithms capable of early detection of potential signs of infectious diseases, including COVID-19 and the flu.

The subscriptions for telehealth and telemedicine, health wearables, data proliferation, etc would be on the rise during 2020.

The Education Sector

The trend to switch to e-learning will grow as more and more platforms for online education empowered themselves during the lockdown. Millions of students have also become habitual of taking online classes from the comfort of their couches. The increasing usage of online platforms for team and project management like Zoom, Slack,, and many others have served a great deal in facilitating online classes for the students sitting anywhere in the world.

Not only these SaaS are available on a subscription basis to help students and educators to continue the learning processes online, but the online education services providers are also offering their services on a recurring basis. So, it is another stream of the subscription business that has already aligned on the subscription model and will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond.

The Marketing and Advertising Industry

2020 has changed the directions for marketing and advertising businesses. Digital marketing is all the marketing and advertising industry is focused, today. Pandemic surged the need for industry-specific marketing keys and several marketing automation and management applications have emerged as marketing solutions.

However, the general need for online marketing across the platform that can be tailored whenever it is required remained on the priority. 2021 will only boost the marketing platforms and more and more businesses will continue to subscribe to the marketing applications, digital marketing services providers, marketing and advertising agencies, social media and search engine marketing features and programs, and more.

The Media and Entertainment Industry

Streaming media was undoubtedly the most thriving industry among all subscription streams and broke all the former records of revenue. However, a downfall by the end of the quarter in the new subscriptions has been observed across all the leading OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney plus, Hulu, and even the porm streaming sites.

The trend may continue in the next year and beyond as the streaming media subscription market has already become highly saturated so tough competition for survival can be predicted among the giants.

On the other hand, the gaming and e-sports industry is expected to gain more impact and growth in the new year and beyond that, it failed to some extent to make during 2020.

The Food and Dining Industry

From meal kits to food delivery subscriptions, food and dining emerged as one of the most successful platforms for the subscription business. Gousto, one of the food services providers in the UK created 1000 new job opportunities during the lockdown and had managed to sell more than 5 million meals by the end of the first quarter of 2020 only.

Meal kit subscriptions, package food supplements, beverages, and snacks subscriptions, organic fruits, vegetables, and grains subscriptions, the subscription box for an assortment of food, beverages, and supplements, and all that can be fit to the definition of food can be offered as a subscription. Not only this, today food delivery subscriptions, dining subscriptions, and restaurant-meal subscriptions—all are driving the growth in the subscription-based food industry.

The Retail Industry

According to Retail Gazette, Covid-19 and lockdowns spiked the online demand of the subscription box by the customers to sign up to them. The stats suggest an increase of 10 percent last year.

Many major retailers have shifted to the subscription box and online subscription of the products directly to their doorstep. The trend would continue in 2021 as the recurrence of need can be satisfied with the service of convenience and affordability. Retailers have the opportunity to capitalize on subscriptions post-lockdown as the customers have already become dependent to get everything from the comfort of their place.

The Automotive and Transportation Sector

The automotive industry is one of the most affected industries during the pandemic and this is why it is being considered one of the industries that may thrive in coming years with the adoption of the hybrid subscription model.

Many automotive giants are greasing the wheels for the car subscription services that allow consumers to pay a monthly subscription fee to use a variety of vehicles without having to own any of them for a set period of time. It will allow subscribers to use the latest vehicles in affordable ways.

Along with the automotive sector, transportation, shipping, and riding sectors are also paving the way to take advantage of the subscription business model with cab-hailing subscriptions, courier and delivery subscriptions, and more.

Subscription Management in 2021—Key Attributes to Focus for Subscription Growth

As we have seen earlier that most of the subscription market, as well as the global economy, would remain in the influence of the COVID-ridden 2020. However, there are some subscription management opportunities in 2021 that can overcome the revenue and growth disasters 2020 incurred.

For several subscription businesses, 2020 charmed the early success when most industries were not enough to convince to switch to the subscription model. Today, the game has changed to a 360-degree angle. The subscription market has become an over-competitive market where only those survive who would consonant their business processes management with innovation, creativity, and data-driven AI-enabled technology.

Enterprises are now transforming beyond mere subscriptions by implementing hybrid subscription models in combination with the breakthrough technologies of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Big Data that can not only automate the billing cycle but can also build predictable, reliable, and stable recurring revenue models with end-to-end subscription solutions.

These are the three key revenue-driven priorities expected for substantial subscription management in 2021 and beyond:

  • The Increasing Use of AI and Data Analytics Than Ever Before

In order to deliver seamless support and predictive capabilities, enterprises strive for more and more AI and ML modules into multiple business processes so that they can drive more sophisticated and improved insights.

The more the subscription businesses gain insights into the customer action, preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns, the better they can improve user experience as well as manage their subscriptions, subscription billing, and subscription business processes at all levels.

The rapid sweep of cognitive technology to manage the businesses will be the key to lead the path of enhanced customer experience with real-time personalization. Among other uses of AI and Data Analytics, marketing and sales processes automation and management, customer support intelligence and automation, digital security management, predictive analysis for subscription growth and recurring revenue management, and other business operations management such as workforce, admin, manufacturing, finance, etc. management will also be planned for minimal friction support.

  • Optimized Pricing, Billing, and Payment Processing

Machine learning is remastering the opportunities for revenue with optimization pricing, billing, and payment processing with two things:

  • Implementation of AI-led modules and Big Data
  • Increasing use of automated modules to streamline the pricing with billing and payment processing to grow revenue

Smartphones made more choices available to the customer when they are not satisfied with any services and the subscription business is all about retaining a customer with stellar customer experience. And, it begins with unmatched offers to the services with seamless billing and payment processing.

  • Customer Retention with Rundles, Loyalty Programs, and Personalization

Rundles or subscription bundles will be the future of the subscription services in 2021 and beyond. We already have seen bigwigs like Apple, Google, Netflix, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, and many more have already begun the bundle wars. The bundling of the services, features, or bundling the cross-platform products and services in association with other companies or partnerships will attract more revenue and keep the customers stay long for the mainstream subscription services providers.

Along with bundling, the two most important things to manage the customer retention business strategies include customer loyalty programs and user experience personalization.

From product development to sales and marketing and risk management and finance to customer support, each business process will b required to gather on one platform to manage and execute the rundle scheming, customer loyalty rewards planning, and leveraging the cross-platform data sharing and data intelligence for enhanced personalization and seamless user experience.