State of Subscriptions: The subscriber growth chapter

Unique insights. Industry trends. Growth benchmarks.

15 min. read

Download report

What’s inside this subscriber growth trends chapter?

  • Unique subscriber growth benchmark and trends data from Recurly’s customers such as Twitch, TIME, Sprout Social, FabFitFun, Paramount+, and Sling

  • A breakdown of common growth strategies such as subscription plan customization, subscriber lifecycle communications–specifically dunning emails–and add-ons, plus an insightful look into how they’ve evolved over time

  • An analysis of how these growth numbers impact the current and future state of the subscription industry and how to respond strategically

  • The most prominent subscriber growth trends of the year, along with the overall impact of Recurly on our merchants’ subscriber growth results

Flexibility is key–about 40% of Recurly merchants make plan changes each year.

What does subscriber growth mean? In this chapter, it is defined as the customer lifetime value increase from your existing subscriber base. This definition dives into retention, loyalty, and growth–how are you, as a business, offering undeniable value to your subscribers to not only make them want to stay but also spend more money with you? Subscriber growth requires an expert grasp of who your customers are, what they want, and how they want it. From acquisition channels to retention tactics, it’s important to always know what your subscribers are looking for now and in the future. 

You need data to know what they like about your business and what they want as a consumer. The State of Subscriptions: The subscriber growth chapter tells you all of that and more.

Recurly is on track to recover $212 million in revenue from dunning emails alone in 2022.

In fact, Recurly merchants are on pace to send 343 million emails in 2022–that’s a lot of subscriber communications. But these emails are just one way to deliver value to your subscribers. Subscription plan personalization, subscriber lifecycle emails, and subscription plan add-ons are some additional elements of the subscriber journey that create the perfect breeding ground for growth. At the end of the day, the decision lies with the consumer, and consumers are all about choice and personalization. Recurring revenue businesses that understand the importance of this are the ones who can scale their subscriber base with no limits.

Subscriber growth is at the core of every leading subscription brands’ goals, and having the right benchmark data and knowledge of evolving consumer trends helps you understand its impact on your own business. Equipped with this information, you can make strategic decisions that increase the customer lifetime value of your subscribers, covering everything from subscription plan customizations, subscriber lifecycle emails, plan add-ons, and more. 

Since 2018, we’ve collected data from more than 5,100 global subscription brands and more than 260 million active monthly subscribers on the Recurly platform. This subscriber growth report reveals the latest benchmark data and trends surrounding subscriber growth, as well as:

  • How these statistics influence your business and the subscription industry, plus how to be proactive and predictive with strategy decisions

  • Subscription industry changes on a global scale, which industries are experiencing the biggest booms, and what you can do to stay competitive

  • The most critical elements of any subscriber growth strategy and what businesses aren’t taking advantage of. Use this information to start mapping out next year’s growth plans now

  • What every growth-minded business should look for in a subscription management and recurring billing platform 

If you’re not adjusting your goals to focus on growth, this report will change your perspective and be that call to action you need to take that first step. Subscriber growth is key to maintaining stable and scalable recurring revenue. Download our State of Subscriptions: The subscriber chapter now to grow faster, smarter, and stronger.

Want a sneak peek of this subscriber growth chapter? Keep reading.

From January to September 2022, Recurly merchants sent out 286 million emails–an 85.7% increase in total emails sent since 2018. In fact, Recurly merchants are pacing to send 343 million emails this year. 

95% of merchants use Recurly’s subscriber lifecycle communications features. The most popular emails by template type are invoice receipts and dunning emails. Subscription renewal reminders are most frequently used for merchants with quarterly or annual billing cycles to proactively encourage a subscriber to update their payment method. 

When broken down by industry, the Digital Media and Entertainment industry sends the most emails by far, accounting for 76.9% of total emails sent up until September 2022. Software (26 million) and Consumer Goods and Retail (21 million) industries follow with the second and third most emails sent, emphasizing the importance of consumer-facing businesses staying in regular contact with their subscribers. 

Learn how Recurly can automate and scale your subscription billing

Book my demo Try it free