COVID-19 has taken the world by storm, changing our day-to-day existence in ways we could have never imagined. Back in March, when the pandemic hit the U.S. in full force, many consumers reacted by emptying store shelves of basic necessities including canned goods and toilet paper. Many people, not knowing what the future would bring, also tightened their financial belts. 

During these uncertain times, consumers have come to rely on subscriptions — for entertainment, education, remote work tools, health and well-being essentials, and so much more. Consumers aren't just using subscriptions more frequently: they're also subscribing to more subscriptions than they previously did. The average number of subscriptions among consumers subscribed to at least one service was 2.9 in July, up from 2.6 in February. This equates to 535 million subscriptions in July, up 22 percent from the 439 million subscriptions consumers held in February. 

“In many ways, COVID-19 has accelerated us to the future, because the notion of convenience and other aspects of subscriptions that have been appealing to subscribers have been stepped up.” - Dan Burkhart, CEO, Recurly 

New Recurly Research Report on The State of Subscription Growth During COVID

From the outset of the pandemic, we’ve kept a close eye on free trials, conversion rates, and new paid subscriptions across six core verticals: 

  • Business & Professional Services

  • Consumer Goods & E-Commerce

  • Digital Media & Entertainment

  • Education

  • Software (SaaS)

  • Venue-Based Entertainment

For each vertical, we have both the data and the story behind the data, so you can decipher how your subscription business compares. We’ve put it all together in this special report: The Impact of the Global Pandemic on Subscription Growth Rates. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll discover in this new Recurly Research report:

New trials see huge double-digit growth across industries

The last two weeks of March saw the largest increase in new trials, at 120% and 101%. In April, there was healthy growth, with trials hovering between 20%-30%. 

What were the trial growth rates in your industry, and how did the pandemic influence these rates?

Free trials convert to new subscriptions, peaking in April

Growth in new subscriptions immediately increased during the first few weeks of COVID, ranging from 20%-40% higher than the pre-COVID timeframe. April saw the highest growth of any month, with peak growth at 85% and weekly data staying above 60% the entire month. 

How did free trials convert into new paid subscriptions by industry?

Wrap Up

To see all the data and the key takeaways that matter most to subscription businesses during these ever-evolving times, get the report.