App Subscriptions Are Gaining In Popularity

Ulysses is one of the most popular writing apps on iOS and the Mac. One of the reasons is that it has apps for both platforms, and even works well on the iPhone. So no matter what device you are working on, you have all your iCloud synced documents on whatever device you happen to have closest at hand.

Another reason it is so popular is that it had a reasonable price that you only had to pay once, then use forever with an expectation of unlimited free updates. If the second reason for loving the app was your main reason, then you are in for some bad news. Ulysses is only doing patches and bug fixes for the classic app as they call it. To get on the upgrade cycle, you are going to have to move to their paid subscription. And they are far from alone. BGR cites a report that “The number of people who are fine with paying app subscriptions is growing.”

“According to the index, mobile subscription app engagement globally, as measured by the conversation rates of people installing and eventually paying subscriptions for apps, has grown 32 percent this year compared to 2017.

“Intuitively, that makes sense, especially as consumers’ favorite apps like Spotify and Netflix acclimate them to subscriptions as opposed to individual purchases of the things and content they love. Per Business Insider, ‘The report, which studied 257 billion impressions across 58.4 million installs from September 2017 to August 2018, found that global subscription app engagement jumped to 3.3%, up from 2.5% in 2017.'”

Microsoft was one of the first of the majors to see this coming. A few years ago, they launched Office 365 which is a subscription-only way of using the Microsoft Office suite on PCs, Macs, and other devices. Users pay less than $10 a month. They even offer single-device pricing for much less. Their customers accepted this new change surprisingly fast. And that story is playing out throughout the industry.

Adobe has also taken up the same model with its Creative Cloud suite. For about $10 a month, you can have access to most of the creative tools you need such as Photoshop: an item that used to cost hundreds of dollars to purchase.

Google is mulling a subscription service that would cover the entire Android Marketplace. The idea is that users would pay something like $10 a month and have access to all, or some subset of the apps on Google Play. While Apple has subscription services such as iCloud, they still sell their professional apps as stand-alone, buy once with free updates model.