Want to run your subscription business more effectively? This report will provide you with an overview of the trends in the recurring revenue space. You'll learn how to define your products and services, design your acquisition tools, expand internationally, and mitigate churn. We provide overall trends and insights broken out by B2B and B2C customers, and analysis across the following industries:

Business & Professional Services

Consumer Goods & Retail

Digital Media & Entertainment



We want to inspire you by providing comparative benchmarks for your subscription business and help you find answers to some of the key questions in growing your business:

  • Should your business offer free trials, coupons, or a combination of both?
  • Should your business stick to a recurring business model or offer one-time sales as well (hybrid model)?
  • Which payment methods should your business offer?
  • Which currencies should your business offer support for? What would be the potential revenue impact of supporting multiple currencies?
  • What is the typical churn rate for your industry?


This study sampled from over 2,000 subscription businesses processing on the Recurly platform. The study period was from the beginning of July 2020 (Q3 2020) to the end of June 2021 (Q2 2021).

All data was aggregated and anonymized; no personally identifiable data was used in the study.

Metrics are rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent unless otherwise noted.


Trial conversion was determined by taking the number of trials that converted during a period divided by the number of trials that started during that same period.


Any coupon that had a discount percent equal to 100% was removed from this study. For the purposes of this report, a merchant had to have run at least one coupon campaign with an associated discount rate of less than 100%. Coupons with 100% discounts were treated as a free trial for the purposes of this analysis. Coupon discount rates were rounded to the nearest five percent.

Payment Methods

Wallet-based payment methods include Apple Pay, Venmo, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.

TPV generated outside the United States is determined by using the country code of the bank associated with a specific transaction.

Churn rate

Definition: The number of canceled (or expired) subscriptions divided by the number of active subscriptions over the study period.

In order to be included in this study, a business had to have over 500 active subscriptions during the study period.

Decline Rate

Definition: Initial declined transaction count divided by the overall initial transaction count.

In order to be included in this study, a business had to have at least 1,000 transactions over the study period.

Industry Definitions

Digital Media & Entertainment - Companies producing or curating premium digital content.

Consumer Goods & Retail - Companies selling physical goods directly to individuals or companies.

Software - Technology companies providing a digital platform as a service.

Education - Organizations facilitating learning by individuals or groups through physical or digital platforms.

Business & Professional Services - Companies that provide customized, knowledge-based services to clients, including finance, marketing, and legal firms.

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