Global: How many consumers are fine with monthly software subscriptions?
March 29th, 2022, Graeme Bruce

Global: How many consumers are fine with monthly software subscriptions?

Nearly every form of software – be it productivity programs, mobile apps, or video games – is moving further into subscription structures and away from one-time, up-front payments. YouGov data collected around the globe shows three in ten consumers around the world are fine with this trend.

While 30% of consumers in 18 markets prefer to pay a monthly subscription for software, a similar proportion, 32%, do not. Another 38% either don’t know or are ambivalent.

Of course, there are significant differences among consumers in different parts of the world. For instance, those in the United Arab Emirates (50%), Mexico (41%), and India (43%) are most likely to be in favor of a subscription payment model compared to consumers in other markets.

The monthly subscription model is particularly ill-received in advanced markets like the United States (where just 16% are in favor of the structure), Great Britain (20%), and Germany (18%).

In the years since the rise of Netflix as a streaming service, tech firms have migrated to similar models as a way to blunt the sticker shock of new software, while maintaining ongoing product revenue. Microsoft moved to such a model with its Office suite, and has applied it to its video game platform, offering a large library of games to Xbox, PC, and mobile users by way of Game Pass for a monthly fee. Apple has also hinged its financial growth on subscriptions, be they for music, news, or fitness apps.

The monthly subscription model is more well-received by younger consumers, particularly among those 25-34 (36%) and 35-44 (33%). These age groups are important to consider, as they are likely to remember a world in which they could buy software outright that was free of any ongoing fee. Despite this, they are most likely to be fine with the Netflix-ification of the software in their lives.

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Methodology: The data is based on the interviews of adults aged 18 and over in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 528 and 2,002 for each market. All interviews were conducted online in January 2022 Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples.