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Consumers demand ease of cancellation, loyalty incentives and personalisation from subscription services

  • The average amount spent in the UK on subscriptions is around £49, which is higher in the Gen Zs (£49) and Millennials (£50) than the Boomers (£35).

  • Ease of cancellation (84%), free trials (82%), free gifts (70%) and exclusive products and services (66%) all attract consumers to subscribe.

  • Consumers prefer financial loyalty incentives through lower subscription prices (76%) and discounts (74%).

LONDON, 21 JUNE 2023 - Recurly, a leading subscription management and billing platform, today announces the launch of its latest report State of Subscriptions: What Consumers Want, which explores consumer subscription spend and trends across key markets. The survey, carried out by global market research firm Censuswide, reveals the preferences of more than 6,000 respondents, including 1,016 UK respondents.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis, the data paints a positive picture for UK consumers' appetites for subscription services with an estimated* 44 million new subscriptions over the last 12 months; notably Gen Zs (£49) and Millennials (£50) are spending more on average per month than Boomers (£35). 

“It’s promising that there is still a huge consumer appetite for subscription services, but it’s clear that consistency in both pricing and loyalty are the stand-out criteria for success in a fiercely competitive arena,” Theresa McEndree, CMO at Recurly said. “The cost of living is hitting consumers hard and they aren’t willing to stick around unless they are getting the best content from streaming services or compelling products from retailers—all for a great price.”

However, rising prices are causing consumers to become pickier, with almost half (47%) cancelling at least one service within the past year due to a general need to reduce their own expenses (37%) or because of price increases (36%). To resolve this, the results indicate that loyalty incentives are important, with nearly 60% of people suggesting that rewarding them for their loyalty would be the most likely way to make them feel like a valued customer. Within this, subscribers prefer financial rewards through lower subscription prices (76%) and discounts (74%) rather than unique products (46%) or gift cards (36%). If providers choose to offer cheaper subscriptions with longer “lock-ins” they can help reduce the churn rate by 42%, securing longer engagement with improved recurring revenue streams.

With regard to initial sign-ups, ease of cancellation (84%) is the factor most likely to attract new subscribers, slightly more so than free trials (82%), exclusive products or services (66%), and free gifts (70%), reflecting that so called ‘dark pattern’ practices that make it very easy to sign up but extremely difficult to cancel are not beneficial to subscriber relationships. Personalisation is also key, with features like the ability to upgrade or downgrade subscriptions as needed (83%), customise plans and pricing (81%) and add items when required (78%) all sitting high on consumers’ priorities.

Notably the data also shows that if providers choose to offer cheaper subscriptions with longer agreements they could help reduce churn by 42% and improve recurring revenue streams. 

“Acquisition, retention and scalability are necessary for long term success in subscriptions, and creating a brilliant subscriber experience will achieve this. Cost obviously matters, and one way to capture a greater number of subscribers is to offer a number of plans at different price points to appeal to those with smaller budgets.” Oscar Wall, General Manager - EMEA at Recurly said.

About Recurly

Thousands of innovative companies across digital media, streaming, publishing, SaaS, education, consumer goods, and professional services industries rely on Recurly to unlock transformational growth using subscriptions. Recurly’s all-in-one, integrated platform removes the complexities of automating subscription billing at scale by enabling teams to manage and optimise their subscriber lifecycles with ease. Category-defining companies including Sling, Twitch, BarkBox, FabFitFun, Paramount, Lucid, and Sprout Social have chosen Recurly to manage billions of dollars in recurring revenues, future-proof their recurring billing and revenue management, and recover billions of dollars in lost revenue due to churn. Founded in 2009, Recurly is based in San Francisco, with offices in Boulder and London. For more information, visit


The findings in this release are based on an internet-based survey conducted by Censuswide in May 2023. The sample size included 6,408 global respondents (1,016 from the UK), 18+ years or over, that currently subscribe to two or more subscriptions.

*The ‘44 million subscriptions added within the past 12 months’ figure was calculated by taking the national representation of UK consumers with two or more subscriptions (circa 55 million) multiplied by the net increase of subscriptions added within the past year (0.8).

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