‘Free trial hopping’ a popular trend to save money on streaming services

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A single digital app usually costs very little per month, no matter if it is video streaming services, online shopping or food delivery.

But since different applications can apply to a different aspect of their lives, many people use multiple apps throughout the day. According to a J.D. Power survey released in January 2021, Americans spend an average of $47 per month on streaming services.

However, a survey of 1,000 people ages 16-54 conducted by Pollfish showed a majority of people are bypassing those costs with a trend called “free trial hopping.”

What is free trial hopping? In a nutshell, since many streaming services and digital apps offer free trials of their software ranging from one week to four months, people will:

  • Sign up for the free trial of the app, using one email address
  • Use the app for the duration of their free trial
  • Cancel that subscription before the free trial expires
  • Create a new email address or use a separate email they have created in the past in order to…
  • Repeat all of the steps above in sequential order.

According to the survey, 77 percent of those in the poll said they have multiple personal email addresses, and 84 percent of them have signed up, used and then canceled the free trial for various reasons.

Among the findings:

  • 71 percent of respondents signed up for a free trial for streaming services, making this category the most popular, followed by retail (49 percent), food services (47 percent) and software trials (29 percent)
  • 53 percent of respondents said they are more likely to sign up for a free trial if it doesn’t ask for a credit card, because they know they can’t be charged if they forget to cancel the service
  • 44 percent said they sometimes sign up for a free trial with their email when they want to try a new service, while 8 percent said they never do because it is too much of a hassle to set up an account
  • When we asked respondents if they felt guilty for signing up for multiple free trials on one service, 19 percent said yes because it feels like stealing and 22 percent said yes because it feels unethical
  • 45% of respondents said they would be very discouraged from paying for a service if there was no free trial of respondents.

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