After investigating the dozens of all-inclusive resorts that abound in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, I finally pulled the figurative trigger on vacation. Booking was a huge relief; the research had taken many long hours due to the numerous great options, each offering bottomless amounts of tacos, tequila and thrilling activities.

I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive; why, then, did “bottomless” feel strangely familiar to me? The answer: all-inclusive business models are no longer a novelty.

The expectation for unending access to products/services for a set fee has expanded causing disruption in sectors across the board

As the Mintel Trend Unlimited explores, cash-conscious consumers are looking for ways to budget their spending appropriately, get the most for their money and try out new experiences risk-free. As a result, the expectation for unending access to designated products and services for one set fee has expanded beyond its typical categories (Mexican resorts and gyms, to name two)  and is causing disruption in sectors across the board.

The appeal of such business models to consumers is clear, but now brands are finding benefits, too. All-inclusive setups can build loyalty, build perceived brand value and attract attention from new eyes, ears and wallets. Unlimited music-streaming services like Spotify, for example, allow bands to connect with new fans because those listeners do not see a risk in checking out a fresh tune if it’s already a part of their subscription.

Elsewhere in the media space, Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries around the world, solidifying the desire for “bottomless” even more broadly. Now, we see that desire influencing other areas of the media, technology and entertainment sectors:

  • T-Mobile Binge On subscribers in the US can now watch YouTube, Discovery GO, Fox Business, Red Bull TV and other media streaming outlets without deductions from their monthly data allowance.
  • In Norway, Vio is a start-up platform that currently has over 40 digital magazine titles on its roster; members of the scheme simply pay a monthly fee to gain unlimited access to all 40 titles.
  • PrimePassis, Brazil’s first cinema subscription service, offers movie-goers the chance to visit one of 2,200 nationwide cinemas every single day for a fixed monthly fee.
  • Jukely is an unlimited concert subscription service. For $25 a month, members can go to an infinite number of concerts in their city. Jukely partners with concert venues and musicians to fill what would be empty seats with avid music lovers.

To highlight the expansiveness of Unlimited outside of those sectors, we’re even seeing it come to fruition in an unprecedented realm: air travel:

  • European start-ups Go Aviation and Take Air, in Finland and Belgium, respectively, both offer unlimited monthly flights for a subscription.
  • In the US, OneGo partners with major US airlines to offer unlimited flights throughout the country for $2,950 a month. Specific restrictions and perks make the concept viable yet luxurious.

In retail, an increasing number of sellers are following the Amazon Prime model and finding a niche within the unlimited space:

  • For example: Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn is trialing a payment method for customers that would let them pay a one-off charge of about $33 to get unlimited deliveries from the retailer for three months. The service is designed to reward loyal customers who order from Albert Heijn a lot – saving them money on delivery costs in the long run.

We’ve also seen the trend take shape in beauty:

  • Treatis a membership-based concierge service in Los Angeles that offers unlimited services from partner salons for a monthly fee. Consumers can get unlimited blowouts for $125 a month, unlimited manicures for $49 a month, or both for $155 a month.

In foodservice, the approach takes standard all-you-can-eat buffets to the next level:

  • Wendy’s raised money for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption by selling a Frosty Key Tag that gets consumers free Jr. Frosties with any purchase in 2016.
  • In Chicago, BrewPass members pay $29.99 a month to choose one coffee daily from among 16 shops. Similarly, Fair Folks & a Goat is a New York City coffee shop that offers its own unlimited drinks for $25 a month.
  • In Miami and Boston, MealPass allows members to get lunch every weekday from a participating restaurant for $99 a month.

Taking the trend further, there is potential to align it with the now-ubiquitous consumer expectation to rent, sample or get something for free instead of purchasing outright:

  • In Paris, La Fabrique de Lunettes lets consumers rent prescription glasses. The optician offers an annual subscription where customers can rent as many pairs of glasses as they’d like throughout the year, one pair at a time.
  • Dora’s Dream is an online subscription service that lets female consumers rent a box of clothes for unlimited monthly use. Users can select three items of clothing from an assortment of types and styles listed on the company website, then have them delivered to their door. Once done with the current choices, the company picks them up and delivers the next box, even relieving consumers of the burden of doing laundry.

It’s important to remember that “limitless” concepts do need to have some limits; specific agreements and restrictions should be put in place. Leery companies can find encouragement in knowing that people are not as greedy as one might think they would be: PT Direct, a personal trainer data tool, found that by the sixth month of membership, almost 44% of gym members were attending less than once a week.

If your brand is unable to provide consumers with a week of “bottomless” relaxation on a beach, consider indulging them instead with a closer-to-home unlimited idea – before your competitors do – that makes them feel unique, elite and excited about your brand.

Stacy Glasgow is a Consumer Trends Consultant at Mintel. Stacy joined Mintel in 2013 bringing with her an exciting blend of CPG, agency and marketing experience. Her time is spent traveling the US engaging clients across global CPG, Beauty and Financial Services in meaningful discussions around the consumer trends that will propel their businesses forward.

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