Average Subscription Renewal Rates by App Category

Comparing Health & Fitness, Education, Productivity, Photo & Video, and Lifestyle.

Traci Hirokawa

Traci Hirokawa

PublishedLast updated

In our look at renewal rates, we analyzed 10,000+ subscription apps across iOS and Android to answer the question: What’s a good first renewal rate for various subscription lengths? 

In response, many of you asked if these numbers change across different app categories. 

To find out, we compared the overall first renewal rates for all apps to our top five categories across the App Store and Play Store: Health & Fitness, Education, Productivity, Photo & Video, and Lifestyle.1

The data

The short answer is yes: Renewal rates do vary across different app categories. Here’s what we found:

First Renewal Rate – Annual Subscriptions by App Category

For annual subscriptions, the median first renewal rate varies by up to 8% across these top app categories. Lifestyle and Education apps had the highest median annual subscription renewal rate (31%), while Photo & Video apps had the lowest (23%).

Average monthly subscription renewal rate by app category

For monthly subscriptions, the median first renewal rate varies by up to 9% across categories. Education and Productivity apps had the highest median monthly subscription renewal rates (67%), while Photo & Video apps had the lowest (58%).

We also found that the overall first renewal rates for monthly subscriptions across all app categories were higher than for annual subscriptions. This is to be expected since monthly subscriptions don’t require as much up-front commitment from users. It’s easier to commit to paying $5 per month indefinitely than $50 per year immediately, even though the annual plan is less expensive in the long run.

Breaking it down

So what causes the differences in renewal rates between app types? To start, some app categories are generally stickier than others. For example, you’re more likely to renew a $99/year fitness app that helps you get into the best shape of your life than a $4.99/month photo filter app that you only used once. 

A difference of a couple of percentage points may seem negligible, but it could have a huge impact on revenue when compounded over multiple years. Wherever your app sits in comparison to these benchmarks, it’s important to dig deeper and look for ways to improve your renewal rates. Even apps that are already in the top quartile can meaningfully improve the long-term trajectory of their business by increasing retention.

However, to be clear, these benchmarks don’t suggest that any one app category will guarantee a higher renewal rate than another. Slicing renewal rates by category can give you a sense of what the first renewal rates might look like for your app, but cost-value ratio is the most important factor in determining how likely users are to renew a subscription after their initial purchase.

Want to maximize your renewal rates? We recently published some helpful tips for preventing churn and increasing retention.

1. Category names vary between the App Store and Play Store. The category names that do not exactly match those listed above are Education (“Education” on the App Store, “Educational” and “Education” on the Play Store) and Photo & Video (“Photo & Video” on the App Store, “Photography” and “Video Players & Editors” on the Play Store).

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