How Shoppers Pick Personal Growth Programs

Since 2020 began, we’ve all been forced to adapt. We were curious to see how shoppers were adapting to new realities, specifically as many sought new avenues to self-improvement. A nationwide survey into shopper behavior included questions about self-improvement subscriptions among six product or service categories.

We asked those who had recently signed up for a self-improvement subscription about the journey they took to arrive at their decision. We found that they’re very open to persuasion, and there’s plenty of opportunity to catch their attention. Given that the pandemic caused a lot of introspection that will affect shoppers for years, brands in the space need to understand shopper motivations and develop strategies to keep growing their customer base.

The good news is that a sizable chunk of these customers is immediately up for grabs. We found that 42% of shoppers looking for a self-improvement course or subscription did not have a specific brand or provider in mind when they started looking. They just identified a need in their life and began looking for a service to satisfy it.

However, 54% of those who did have a brand in mind when they began their search ultimately chose that provider. The share of consumers who started with a provider in mind but changed their mind and went with someone else was just 6% of shoppers.



So the advantage goes to whoever gets the first foot in the door, since about half of consumers told us that they made a final decision on their subscription provider within one day of starting the search. Which means that being late to the party loses a brand half of the sector.

Shoppers in this category really do their research, consulting an average of 31 sources before making a final decision. Considering the short purchase timeline, that’s probably a wide array of sources pursued at not much depth.

So marketing material should be direct and to the point. Two of the most often used and most influential sources for these shoppers were online searching and social media.

These shoppers also put an emphasis on personal interaction, saying that word of mouth is a very important source of information for them. Plus, they’re likely to talk about their subscription with their in-person social networks: friends and family.

Brands in the space can take advantage of this shopper persona by making sure that their content is sharable both online and in the real world, and encouraging their users to talk about the programs with the people in their lives.

We expect to see growth in this sector for decades to come. As the subscription-based model continues to expand into new digital offerings and the technological revolution accelerates, people will seek lifelong learning opportunities at an increased clip. Existing providers and challenger brands will need a keen understanding of how subscribers go about choosing their programs in order to take advantage of this growing market.

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