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Subscriptions for the Holidays: Nearly 70 percent of consumers want to give and receive gift subscriptions

Millennials and Gen Z lead demand for subscription gifts this holiday season

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., September 29, 2022 – Subscription gifting is primed to soar for the holidays. According to a new survey conducted by Recurly, a leading subscription management and billing platform, this holiday season will be big for businesses with gift subscriptions, with 63% of consumers reporting they would consider giving subscriptions as a gift and 70% interested in receiving subscriptions as a gift themselves. Gen Z (73%) and Millennials (72%) lead the charge with the majority saying they are interested in receiving subscriptions as gifts.

Why consumers love to give and receive subscriptions

It’s no surprise consumers want choices. They report the top reasons they like receiving subscriptions as a gift are that it allows them to experience something new (60%) and there are a variety of carefully-selected options to choose from (44%).

“This holiday, consumers are looking for gifts of experience and utility, and that translates directly to a desire for subscriptions. As subscription brands begin holiday planning, optimizing their gifting experience is key,” said Theresa McEndree, Chief Marketing Officer at Recurly.

“Subscriptions as a gift allows consumers to try something new or dig deeper into something they already love. And, with the wide range of consumer subscription types, there is something perfect for everyone on their list - from the pet-lover to the gamer to the fashionista.”

Recurly’s survey identified key trends related to shopping preferences that subscription brands should consider to deliver on consumer demands this holiday season.

Start offering discounts now

Twenty-two percent of consumers surveyed have already started their holiday shopping, and 40% say they will begin their holiday shopping sometime in November. With consumers reporting that they plan to shop for discounts and deals, businesses with subscription models should use this time to implement customized pricing models for both customer acquisition and retention to acquire subscribers and build loyalty over time.

Consider inspired bundles

Strategic pairings, such as a streaming media and popcorn-of-the-month subscription, a wine and cheese subscription, or workout membership and fitness box subscription, will be the most compelling offers, as surveyed consumers listed experiences (43%), gift cards (42%), and entertainment (36%) as the top gifting categories people would like to receive.

The majority of consumers, from Generation Z (73%) to Boomers (53%), have an interest in receiving subscriptions as a gift, indicating the top three preferred categories of subscription gifts to receive as streaming video (40%), retail (28%) and streaming audio (27%). Finally, as streaming video (54%), gaming (39%), and streaming audio (36%) are the top three subscription categories most likely to be given as gifts, brands should consider mutually beneficial partnerships.

Understand your gift givers

More than half of those surveyed say the current economy will impact the way they give gifts this year, including spending less on gifts (64%), giving gifts to fewer people (39%), and shopping for more deals (35%). Yet, consumers indicated that close family members (59%), significant others (55%), and friends (49%) will receive the most gifts this year.

Consumers surveyed reported that the top three attributes of a “great gift” are thoughtful (75%), useful (70%), and practical (40%), and subscriptions as gifts usually check all three. Specifically, the top reasons why people want to give subscriptions as a gift is because it’s easy to purchase (53%), it fits into the budget/price they want to spend (45%), and it’s easy to deliver (41%). Businesses that can offer thoughtful and practical subscriptions that are easy to purchase and pay for will come out on top.

Leverage pricing and subscription lengths effectively

When thinking about pricing and promotions, consider that the majority surveyed (72%) are looking to spend under $100 on a subscription service gift, and 34% of consumers surveyed would sign-up for a 6-month subscription for their gift recipient.

From an acquisition perspective, most consumers surveyed report If they were to receive a subscription as a gift, they would continue the subscription once the gift period expired if they found the subscription fun, useful, or helpful (52%).

“This is a powerful and unique opportunity for brands to scale, as businesses leverage gifted subscriptions as a tool for acquisition,” says McEndree.

Recurly provides a flexible and scalable subscription platform to support subscription commerce for thousands of brands globally. Recurly helps companies scale subscriber growth by optimizing the consumer experience while reducing the operating cost of managing recurring billing and payments. Visit Recurly gift subscriptions for more information.

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 subscriptions 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 millions 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

About the “Consumer and Subscriber Gifts for the Holiday Season” survey

The “Consumer and Subscriber Gifts for the Holiday Season” survey is based on findings of an internet-based survey conducted by Recurly on Sept. 8, 2022. The sample size included 2,472 Americans ages 18 and older that are planning to give gifts this holiday season.

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