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Consumers Expect Flexibility at Sign Up, Loyalty Incentives and Easy Personalization when it Comes to their Subscription Experiences

Global subscriber survey by Recurly defines consumer preferences and expectations; what consumers want for a great subscriber experience.

SAN FRANCISCO—June 21, 2023Recurly, a leading subscription management and billing platform, today announced the release of their report, State of Subscriptions: What Consumers Want, revealing the subscription experience preferences of more than 6,000 global respondents. The results identify the most effective tactics and incentives toward driving subscription behaviors—from acquisition to retention—while also quantifying consumer subscription spend and trends.

“The expectations of subscriptions have dramatically increased. Consumers today have many options, are facing economic uncertainty and have very high expectations of where they spend their time and money,” said Theresa McEndree, CMO at Recurly. “Our mission is to build lasting subscriber relationships; and understanding the subscriber mindset is key. Top trends for today’s subscriber are personalization, flexible subscription experiences, paired with recognition and rewards for their continued loyalty.”

Key findings include:

  1. Consumers want loyalty incentives. Four-in-five (82%) respondents stated that they would remain subscribed if there were loyalty incentives (such as points, discounts or gifts), proving that rewarding subscription loyalty is crucial toward enhancing the subscriber experience and driving long-term relationships.

  2. Flexibility is a powerful tool. Subscriptions must be flexible. In fact, if there’s an option to pause, consumers stated that they would be 71% more inclined to subscribe, and 65% would be more likely to change their mind about cancellation. Additionally, 77% are more likely to subscribe if it is easy to cancel the subscription.

  3. Personalization for the win. Subscribers have shown that they both want and expect personalized subscription experiences. Three-in-four (78%) respondents stated that “upgrading or downgrading my subscription as needed” is important, and 74% stated that “adding items/services to subscriptions whenever I want” is also important when it comes to creating a great subscriber experience overall. Furthermore, 61% showed a greater likelihood of subscribing when they’re able to select their own payment date.

  4. Consumers want free trials and extra value. Subscribers are increasingly interested in trying out a product or service before committing to a subscription. Three-in-four (75%) stated they would be more likely to start a subscription when a free trial is offered. Furthermore, when adding value such as a free gift or exclusive product, respondents stated that they would be 65% and 62% more likely to subscribe, respectively.

  5. “More” communication is not better. Lastly, survey respondents were absolutely clear—not only do they not want constant communication, but their preferred method of communication is email (45%). When asked about the communication subject and frequency, 26% of respondents stated that they only want to receive communications once a month and another 16% only want communications as needed.

More broadly, the report highlights the critical roles personalization, flexibility and incentives play in creating what consumers perceive as an ideal subscriber experience. 

“As consumers seek greater influence over their subscriptions, businesses in all industries must adapt to meet these expectations,” McEndree added. “Recurly customers leverage a number of these solutions, like ramp pricing, to offer subscribers flexible, personalized plans.” For more information, or to download the report, visit Recurly.  

*Findings based on an internet-based survey conducted by Censuswide, May 2023. The sample size included 6,408 global respondents, 18+ years or over, that currently subscribe to two or more subscriptions.

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 optimize 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

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