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Brits wasting £265 a year on unused subscriptions

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Written by: Emma Lunn
17/06/2021
One in five (21%) people are paying £265 each year for subscriptions they no longer use, according to research by Compare the Market.

More than a quarter (28%) of households check how much they are spending on subscriptions every month. For the remaining 72%, unused or unneeded subscriptions could be putting pressure on household finances.

Compare the Market found that spending on unused subscriptions varies significantly by age. Nearly half (47%) of bill payers under the age of 25 have subscriptions that they don’t use, and these young people are squandering an average of £344 on these services each year.

Only 9% of people aged over 55 have unused subscriptions, wasting an average of £164 on them each year.

More than 17.5 million households subscribe to at least one streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney Plus, according to the latest data from the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB).

Separate research from Ofcom’s Media Nation 2020 report also shows millions of UK subscriptions for these streaming services will be up for renewal soon. The regulator calculated that six million households signed up to a streaming service during the first lockdown.

One year later, these services may no longer be needed as curbs on leisure activities are being lifted including the reopening of museums, cinemas, and restaurants.

More than half (51%) of households said they had seen the cost of their monthly bills rise over the past 12 months. But, despite seeing their bills increase, four in 10 (42%) households admitted they don’t regularly compare other providers for cheaper or more suitable deals once their contracts end.

Anelda Knoesen, product lead for open banking at Compare the Market, said: “As social distancing curbs are being lifted, households may now be paying for subscriptions they no longer need. Reviewing household spending regularly and cancelling unused subscriptions can make a big difference in making ends meet. Our research shows young people could save hundreds of pounds by cancelling forgotten subscriptions or checking prices more regularly.

“Shopping around is one of the most effective ways to cut the cost of monthly bills and relieve some of the financial pressure, potentially saving hundreds of pounds each year.”

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