Consumer Interest in Subscription-Based Apps Skyrockets While Purchase Rates Drop 200%, Shows New Liftoff Report

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Liftoff’s Annual Mobile App Trends Report Points to a Cultural Shift in Consumer Purchase Behavior as Subscription Rates Jump More Than 1.5x Year-Over-Year

Liftoff, the leader in performance-driven mobile user acquisition, released its annual Mobile App Trends Report which provides insights into the boomping app economy. Specifically, the report found a cultural shift in consumer purchase behavior, as users demonstrate a preference for enrolling in subscription services over making one-time purchases.

Drawing upon Liftoff’s internal data, the report analyzes over 349 billion impressions across 992 mobile apps, 5.35 billion clicks and 76.6 million total post-install events. Spanning a variety of app categories, including those in Finance, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Music & Audio, Education, Gaming, Shopping, Social Media and more, the report found the following:

Gen Z(ero Ownership): Consumers Are Far More Willing to Subscribe to Services than to Make a Purchase…

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The subscription economy has taken off in recent years as consumers have moved increasingly away from ownership, and the market has noticed: today, there are over two thousand consumer-focused subscription businesses capitalizing on customers’ diverse tastes. For the past two years, Liftoff’s data has pointed to the growth of the subscription model, but this year it shows one key difference: mobile users are far more willing to subscribe to a service than to make a one-time purchase.

The cost to acquire a user who makes a first-time-purchase is up more than 60% year-over-year, making it the most expensive acquisition across all mobile app categories. However, high cost doesn’t equal high return – in the past year alone, purchase rates have plummeted by a whopping 213%. Meanwhile, costs to acquire a subscribing user are down by 58.2%, while engagement is up 45%, demonstrating that users are eschewing traditional ownership in favor of the advantages of subscription. And for those marketers looking for major results, iPhone users may be the target: those on iOS have 121% higher subscription rates (10.9%) than Android users (2.7%).

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“The subscription model, particularly in e-commerce, offers consumers a convenient, personalized, and often lower-cost way to buy what they want and need,” explained Mark Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Liftoff. “Marketers looking to capitalize on this cultural shift should explore subscription-based models or tiers, or take note of key points in the year when purchase behavior is up to get the most bang for their buck.”

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