Gen Zero Ownership; Subscription Economy for Apps

Gen Zero Ownership; Subscription Economy for Apps

November 14, 2019

Liftoff releases its annual Mobile App Trends Report on the booming app economy. The report claims a cultural shift in consumer purchase behaviour, as subscription rates jumped more than 1.5x YoY. 

The report claims Asia is home to some of the highest-performing countries in terms of Day One mobile app user retention, although user-loyalty wanes after 30 days.

Based on 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. It covered 30 countries in four regions; including 11 countries in the Asia-Pacific (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam).

Key take-aways from the report:

First Impressions Count; Asian countries show highest Day One retention rates

The mobile app user retention rate measures the percentage of consumers that continue to use an app over a given period of time. In Asia – where the average Day 1 retention rate was recorded at 25.2 percent, Taiwan (at 29.5 percent) outperformed the region’s average retention rate, followed by Malaysia (29.1 percent), Japan (28.4 percent) and Thailand (27.0 percent).

Despite the high figures recorded for first day retention, the figure was shown to drop off considerably after a month. This is as the Day 3 retention rate stood only at 12.6 percent in Asia – the lowest across all regions – while Day 7 retention rates dropped to 8.1 percent (lower than the 8.9 percent and 8.5 percent in the North America and EMEA regions respectively, but still higher than the 7.9 percent in Latin America).

By Day 30, Asia’s retention rate stood at 3.1 percent; lower than the 3.5 percent seen both in the EMEA and North America regions, however still higher than the 2.8 percent in Latin America.

A key factor explaining the high early retention rates in Asia is the relatively low cost to engagement ratio for users to install an app which, at USD 1.11 cost for 100 percent engagement, signifies one of the lowest ratios amongst all the regions. The drop off by Day 30 could then be explained by the low conversion of cost to engagement for in-app purchases (USD 85.95 cost for 1.3 percent engagement) and purchases (USD 67.68 cost for 1.6 percent engagement). Among all the other regions, the figures highlighted the second-highest costs in their categories yet only showed the lowest engagement rates.

There seems to be more value derived from app subscriptions in Asia. For instance, the cost to acquire users in Asia was USD28.95 whereas the engagement rate was 3.8 percent. While the engagement rate was only the third highest amongst all the other regions, the cost was the lowest.

Gen Zero Ownership: Consumers More Willing to Subscribe to Services than to Make a Purchase

The trend seen in app subscriptions in Asia reflected an overarching trend seen across all the regions studied.

Liftoff’s report shows that there is a cultural shift in consumer purchase behaviour, as subscription rates jumped more than 1.5x year-over-year. This comes as the subscription economy has taken off in recent years. 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.

This trend is also set to take off in Asia, where a Citi Bank study showed that companies will increasingly move towards subscription-based models to access products and services rather than a one-time purchase.

According to Liftoff CEO Mark Ellis, for the past two years, Liftoff’s data 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 subscription model, particularly in e-commerce, offers consumers a convenient, personalized, and often lower-cost way to buy what they want and need. In Asia, we are now seeing more regional companies attempting to emulate the subscription-based models seen in the West and try to replicate it in the region. With, internet and mobile penetration set to grow even further, we only see such services not only becoming more popular in the region, but even going as far as to say that they could be the norm. 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,” says Ellis.

(Ed. Download the full report here. The Mobile App Trends Report from Liftoff, AppsFlyer, Adjust and Apptopia draws upon Liftoff’s internal data from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019, spanning 992 mobile apps, 349 billion impressions, 5.35 billion clicks, 128 million installs, 21.4 million first-time events and a total of 76.6 million post-install events. The report breaks down key trends and metrics impacting user acquisition, engagement and retention across a variety of app categories (Dating, Finance, Gaming, Shopping and Utility and regions (APAC, EMEA, LATAM and North America).


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