Netflix cancellations fell during the first quarter to their lowest level in 2 years, exclusive web-tracking data suggests

  • Netflix made big subscriber gains amid the pandemic, and new data suggests it’s retaining customers.
  • Visits to Netflix’s cancellation page fell in the first three months of 2021, SimilarWeb found. 
  • Netflix reports earnings for the first quarter of 2021 on Tuesday. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Netflix posted unprecedented subscriber gains during the pandemic, and new data tracking its cancellation page suggested the streaming company was holding on to its customers.

The data from the analytics firm SimilarWeb, which was shared exclusively with Insider, tracked unique visitors to Netflix’s cancellation-confirmation web page, the page that displays when a user successfully cancels a subscription.

Visitors to that cancellation page during February and March were at the lowest levels recorded in the two years of data that SimilarWeb shared with Insider. Over the first three months of 2021, the number of average visitors to the cancellation-confirmation page fell about 20% year over year and was flat from the previous quarter.

Netflix was one of the highest-flying stocks during the pandemic.

People flocked to the streaming service — and its series like “Tiger King,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” and “Bridgerton” — amid stay-at-home orders. The company gained 37 million paid subscribers in 2020, a company record, and surpassed for the first time 200 million subscribers globally, according to SimilarWeb’s data. That growth stoked the stock, which rose about 65% in 2020. 

Since the pandemic boom, investors have braced for a slowdown in subscriber growth. The company has said it doesn’t expect its growth in 2021, as lockdowns end and COVID-19 vaccines roll out, to match last year’s stellar gains.

Netflix will report earnings for the first quarter of 2021 on Tuesday. It forecast 6 million paid-subscriber additions for the period, down from the 15.77 million it added last year.

The SimilarWeb data suggested that the streaming company was at least doing a solid job retaining the subscribers it had, even with more competition from services like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, and Discovery Plus, which are rolling out around the world. 

Recent data from another third-party analytics firm, Antenna, also found that Netflix consistently had the lowest rate of churn, or cancellations, of the major streaming services. 

The SimilarWeb data tracked visitors to Netflix’s cancellation-confirmation page from 58 countries, including countries in the four regions the streaming company reports on in financial filings — the US and Canada; Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; Latin America; and the Asia-Pacific region.

In each region, visitors to the page declined year over year during the first quarter, the data showed.

SimilarWeb also tracked unique visitors to Netflix.com as an indicator of usage. But the data does not include visits to the Netflix app, the primary platform where people use the service.

Visitors to Netflix.com increased 5% in the first quarter from a year earlier, and were flat compared with the last quarter, according to SimilarWeb. That growth was mostly because of international regions, which are growing faster than the US and Canada. Visitors to Netflix.com in the US and Canada dipped about 3% from last year.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

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