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Subscription Merchants Tap Audiobooks to Drive Consumer Loyalty

Subscription Merchants Tap Audiobooks to Drive Consumer Loyalty

As businesses compete for subscribers’ long-term loyalty, key players are increasingly leveraging audiobooks to keep customers coming back.

Take, for instance, Spotify, which announced last month the addition of more than 200,000 audiobooks for its Premium subscribers, with 15 hours of listening included in the subscription per month before consumers have to start paying extra for the content. The company said it found that 72% of Generation Z and millennial consumers listen to audiobooks.

The move comes as audio streaming platforms are challenged to work harder for consumers’ loyalty in the face of stiff competition from rivals, with Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer and Amazon Music all vying for streamers’ loyalty, and with broadcasting company SiriusXM now throwing its hat in the ring.

Amazon, for its part, remains a leader in the space with its Audible audiobook and podcast subscription. The company is looking to drive adoption during the holiday season by touting 60% off memberships for four months. The eCommerce giant is also looking to drive synergies between the audiobook offering and its core Prime subscription by promising twice as many titles free during the Audible Premium Plus trial versus non-Prime members (two listens for free a month, versus just one).

Amazon also continues to add new features to the subscription offering, most recently launching its Your Books feature last week, enabling users to explore all their books in one place and offering personalized features to find the next title to listen to.

Meanwhile, book retailer Barnes & Noble aims to hold its own against Audible and drive engagement with its Nook eReader and app, offering its own audiobook subscription, which uses a similar pricing structure.

Audiobooks offer subscription merchants the advantage of driving ongoing engagement, with the content typically significantly longer than the average podcast, television episode or movie, securing hours of use per title.

Moves to drive engagement with audiobooks come as many consumers look to pare down their content subscription rosters. The PYMNTS Intelligence study “The One-Stop Bill Pay Playbook: Drivers of Consumers’ Bill Payment Priorities,” created in collaboration with Mastercard, found that 55% of consumers said they would cut their streaming subscriptions if they needed to reduce the bills they received each month, a greater share than said the same of any other service.

Plus, the study “Subscription Commerce Readiness Report: Bridging the Gap Between Subscription Conversion and Retention,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and sticky.io collaboration, revealed that cost is the most common reason people unsubscribe, with 56% of consumers citing it as the reason for canceling a subscription in the previous year.

As the battle for customer loyalty intensifies, businesses are recognizing the appeal of audiobooks to engage and retain subscribers. With Spotify, Amazon and Barnes & Noble all jockeying for consumers’ listening loyalty, it seems audiobooks have become a consideration in the ongoing competition among streaming platforms and subscription merchants.