Summary of Everything’s Becoming a Subscription, and the Pandemic Is Partly to Blame

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Everything’s Becoming a Subscription, and the Pandemic Is Partly to Blame summary

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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, homebound people subscribed to everything from Netflix to food delivery services. As Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam report in The Washington Post, the beleaguered service industry joined in, offering subscriptions to restaurants and hotels. The pandemic didn’t create the subscription economy. It started well before and will continue to grow in the post-pandemic world. Despite the convenience, Long and Van Dam warn, subscriptions have downsides, such as encouraging overspending and underlining divisions between haves and have-nots.

About the Authors

Economics correspondent Heather Long was a senior economics reporter at CNN. Andrew Van Dam covers data and economics for The Washington Post, as he did for The Wall Street Journal.


People turned to subscriptions during the pandemic, but the subscription economy will continue in the post-pandemic world.

Trapped at home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, people subscribed to digital entertainment venues and grocery delivery services. The struggling service industry waded in, with restaurants and hotels offering subscriptions, which generated more business and much-needed cash to an extent that surpassed owners’ expectations.

The coronavirus spurred the subscription economy, but experts expect this purchasing mechanism to continue to grow in the post-pandemic world. Some predict it will double by 2025 from its current $650 billion estimated value to $1.5 trillion. Subscriptions bring businesses value, predictable cash streams, closer relationships with customers and abundant sales data.

Most Americans pay for two to three...

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