Fish and Wildlife Economics and Statistics
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Do License Auto-Renew Options Improve Revenues for State Agencies?

Go Outdoors FloridaIn October 2015, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) introduced an auto-renew option for hunting and fishing license customers to automatically renew their licenses upon expiration. The option is available to both resident and non-resident customers for a variety of license types. Florida’s annual licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. However, many of their customers do not know their licenses had expired, or are intentionally delaying renewal, which impacts the agency’s ability to fund conservation. The auto-renew option was created to improve convenience for FWC customers and ultimately generate increased conservation revenues.

In the report, “Impact of Auto-Renew Option on License Renewal Rates,” Southwick Associates examined the issue, focusing on three specific annual license types: hunting, fishing and combination hunting/fishing licenses. Both resident and nonresident license purchases were examined from when the program started on October 15, 2015 through the end of its most recent fiscal year, June 30, 2017.

During that time, 2,025,000 auto-renew eligible licenses were sold. These customers all had the option to select auto-renew for the following year. Of those sales, 60,078 were auto-renewed the following fiscal year.

To determine whether the auto-renew program increased sales, or simply made it easier for customers who planned to renew, Southwick Associates created a model to measure the option’s actual impact on renewals, as well as the corresponding increase in sales revenues. Results showed the auto-renew option had a significant, positive impact on renewal rates and associated revenues for both fishing and combo licenses, but no statistically significant impact on hunting license sales. Higher rates of auto-renewals were also found among resident anglers than non-residents.

The increase in sales generated by the auto-renew option was estimated to be 3.7 percent for resident fishing licenses, 3.4 percent for resident combination licenses and 1.7 percent for nonresident fishing licenses. For hunting, the increase was less than one percent. Overall, this translates into another 55,000 additional annual renewals compared to not having the auto-renew option available.

So how does that translate into dollars for the FWC? Those additional license sales brought in just under $1.29 million in new revenues. It is important to note that, as hunters and anglers become more familiar with the auto-renewal option, the results should increase. Regardless, the findings of the FWC’s report revealed that even right after inception, the auto-renewal option generated significant increases in revenues. For more information or a copy of the report, contact Rob@SouthwickAssociates.com.