What is Subscription Fatigue and How to Overcome It?

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    January 10th, 2022
  • Read Time:
    5 Mins
  • Category:

The biggest business and marketing trend of this decade is the exponential growth of subscription-based business models.

These days every other business offers a subscription option: Ecommerce and retail stores offer unlimited free delivery to their subscription customers. And let’s not even get into the unbelievable growth of SaaS platforms which more often than not rely on recurring (subscription-based) revenue.

No wonder consumers are growing increasingly tired of those subscription payments that may be a nightmare to get control over.

That phenomenon is known as subscription fatigue and it is a growing trend these days.

So what is subscription fatigue and how marketers can cope with it?

What is Subscription Fatigue

Subscription fatigue refers to growing weariness of consumers to sign up for a growing number of subscription businesses.

The majority (roughly 80% ) of the US population is subscribed to something, research shows, yet half of US consumers are put off by the increasing number of subscriptions they are tempted to opt in for.

Subscription Fatigue stats
Subscription Fatigue stats: 47% of US customers admit to be put off by the increasing number of subscription businesses

I think most people reading this post are familiar with this problem: Oftentimes we are looking at yet another automated charge wondering where this may be coming from. Subscription payments are hard to control and too easy to lose track of!

This poses a huge problem in the SaaS niche where customers’ journeys are already incredibly long and complicated.

Is there a way to overcome a growing subscription fatigue?

How to Cope with Subscription Fatigue

Coping with subscription fatigue: Give free access

Offering a freemium plan or a free trial may help you overcome that fear of another subscription because people will be able to become users without providing their credit card details.

Further reading:

You can set up your free trial using PayKickstart that supports membership and subscription businesses, and offers you a variety of tools helping you manage your product levels and convert free trial users into paying customers.

This method generally helps but you need to tune up your customer relationship management strategy to ensure that the “free period” will be used to convince your users your product is worth subscribing to.

Develop relationships with your subscription customers

Relationship management and brand loyalty are your savers when it comes to overcoming subscription fatigue.

Obviously, the better your customers know your brand, the more likely they will be to subscribe when they are encouraged to. 

Therefore maintaining meaningful and well-balanced relationships is key to getting people more willing to subscribe.

Further reading:

Combat subscription fatigue: Make onboarding as easy as possible

Making it easier to subscribe will get more of your site users to convert. Consider trying any or several of these tactics simplifying your sales funnel:

  • Use urgency to get more people to subscribe right away. Implementing limited-time offers and using countdown timers are great ways to create a sense of urgency and shorten your buying journeys.
  • Simplify your SaaS pricing pages
  • Shorten your buying process: Decrease the number of steps required to sign up

PayKickstart’s customizable checkout pop-up widgets help you shorten your sales funnel by allowing your site users to pay or upgrade with one click of a button without having to load a new page:

PayKickstart’s customizable checkout pop-up widgets
Use PayKickstart’s checkout pop-up widgets to shorten your sales funnel

Further reading: How to Shorten Your SaaS Customers’ Buying Journey 

Coping with email fatigue: Prioritize emails that matter at this given moment

Gone are the days when an email inbox was our private corner we’d use to keep contact with our personal and business connections.

These days the majority of our incoming email messages are automated notifications from companies we once bought from, expressed interest in buying from or have no idea who they are.

No wonder we are all growing weary of granting our email address to any more companies. Email fatigue is another type of obstacle subscription businesses need to cope with because they rely on emails to keep their recurring users active and engaged.

Timing your emails right is the best way to keep your customers subscribed. PayKickstart offers different ways to time your automated email messages based on various actions on the site. You can enable:

Additionally you can set up Automated Surveys that are triggered by customers’ actions. These can help you better understand your users’ reasoning behind certain actions like cancellation or refund request:

Automated Surveys
Automated Surveys allow you to better understand the reasoning behind customers’ actions and time your email notifications based on those actions

Understand your subscription customers better: Create buyers personas

Finally, the key to solving just about any digital marketing problem is always about being able to understand and relate to your target customers.

What may convince them to subscribe? What may be their biggest problems and how does my product fit in?

Creating detailed qualified buyer personas will help you find answers to many of those questions.

PayKickstart offers a detailed Demographics section that gives you a lot of insight into your current users, including:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Average purchase type
  • Positions inside their company, etc.
PayKickstart Demographics
PayKickstart offers a detailed Demographics feature that allows you to gather automated intelligence and data about your buyers

Further reading: Gathering Customer Demographics & Intelligence

Additionally you can access each customer’s profile page giving you even more information on each one. These customers’ profiles make it easier to create your buyer personas.


Setting up a subscription business is almost always a good idea: Recurring revenue is easier to predict and harder to lose than revenue that relies on one-time payments. Yet, this business model (like any other business model) comes with its own challenges and here it is the need to overcome growing subscription fatigue.

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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