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    Consumer interest in subscription-based apps skyrockets while purchase rates drop 200%, shows new report

    A new report in the US has found a cultural shift in consumer purchase behaviour, with users demonstrating a preference for enrolling in subscription services over making one-time purchases.

    According to the annual Mobile App Trends Report from Liftoff, a leader in performance-driven mobile user acquisition, the app economy is booming – and subs seem to be where users are heading.

    Drawing upon its own internal data, the Liftoff analyses more than 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.

    And the finds are fascinating. For starters, 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%).

    “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.”

    Similar findings can be gleaned from the work done by a second performance marketing company Avasam, which outlines too just how app marketing can reshape the consumer landscape, with this great list of tools.

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