Synoptik, Aarstiderne, and Yousician are some of the many Scandinavian subscription successes

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By Morten Suhr Hansen

Recently, I had the pleasure of being invited as a keynote speaker at a major subscription conference in Como, Italy. The attendees were subscription professionals from around the world, and I took the opportunity to review the remarkable subscription movement sweeping across Scandinavia in recent years. My point is that subscription services are particularly strong in the Scandinavian countries and that, in the first half of 2024, we have witnessed a strengthening of the positive subscription trends we’ve seen in recent years.

I will return to that later in this article, but for now, let’s take a closer look at the strong subscription movement in Scandinavia. I used three specific cases to highlight my point about how widespread the subscription movement has become.

Synoptik, Aarstiderne, and Yousician are real subscription successes

My first example was a true Scandinavian subscription success. Synoptik is the leading optical chain in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden (and also part of the world’s largest optical chain and eyewear manufacturer, Essilor Luxottica). In just a few years, they have convinced us Scandinavians that it is far better to subscribe to glasses than to buy them. In fact, I could see that it came as quite a surprise to the audience in Como when I mentioned my own five pairs of glasses and sunglasses that I have on subscription, which I can continuously exchange as my vision changes or when I simply need something new. Although I know the exact number of people who actually choose a subscription with Synoptik, one of our valued clients, I won’t reveal it here. However, I believe the rest of the world will be hearing a lot more about ‘Vision-as-a-Service’ in the coming years.

Aarstiderne is another strong example I presented. It’s not an example of a subscription business that is strong in many countries, but rather an example of how deep penetration you can achieve if you fully consider your customers and their needs. Aarstiderne excels in meal kits on subscription, but they don’t stop at dinner. Recently, Aarstiderne launched Aarstiderne Plus, a completely new subscription concept that makes it even more advantageous for customers to buy all their groceries from Aarstiderne. In this context, they have also opened a large online grocery store with more than 1,000 organic food items.

The third example I presented was the Finnish music learning service Yousician. If you are not familiar with this service and have long wanted to learn to play an instrument, such as the guitar, it comes highly recommended by me and the 20 million other subscribers they have worldwide. Yousician is likely the global market leader in their specific field. They have brilliantly integrated gamification and hyper-personalization into their product, making it even more fun and tailored the more you engage with learning an instrument.

A strong spring has come to an end. A busy fall awaits

Three strong examples from our neighboring countries. We can quickly agree on that. But what leads me to conclude that we are actually experiencing further growth in subscriptions here in 2024?

Let me be straightforward. Up until now, it’s a strong gut feeling. There aren’t actual market studies backing it up yet. However (and here I apologize for a bit of self-promotion), at Subscrybe, we’re noticing tremendous interest from companies across Scandinavia, and based on this, we’ve had a very busy first half of the year. This interest is coming from both companies already in subscriptions and those looking to join. So, I can confidently say that Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes will soon be spoiled with even more exciting subscription offerings.

We’re definitely heading into a fall that promises to be busy and exciting. This applies to us at Subscrybe, but also to all of you who are working hard every day to create as much tailwind as possible for your own subscription businesses.

Lastly, let me wish everyone a fantastic summer filled with relaxation, recharging, and wonderful experiences. Stock up on energy because we’ll need it as we gear up to give the subscription movement even more momentum after the summer.

Enjoy your summer!