Latest trends in consumer use of subscription boxes

September 2019


Latest trends in consumer subscription boxes

  • Graze most popular subscription service in a box
  • Food ranks first in most popular subscription category with an average spend of £7.99 per box
  • Women more likely than men to use the service

Whistl, the leading delivery management company in the UK has unearthed the latest trends in subscription box used by consumers through their latest research conducted amongst a UK wide representative sample of a 1000 people.

Whistl has found that 38% of the UK population has used a subscription box service of which 45% of females use them compared to 30% of men. There is a higher penetration of use in the 18-31 year-old group with 58% using them compared to the over 65 year-olds where only 17% use them.

Unexpectedly, the use of subscription box services rises with household income and 45% of Londoners used them compared to the lowest subscription rate in Northern Ireland at 19%.

When asked about the regularity of delivery, 58% are monthly, followed by weekly 23%, 8% bi-monthly and 11% less frequently.

The research was undertaken to understand the growing market for products ordered by a regular subscription and typically delivered in a box.

The key findings were:

The most popular subscription categories were beauty; books & magazines; drink; arts and crafts; and health and fitness:

Subscription box category % of sample who have subscribed
Food (inc recipe boxes) 53%
Beauty 31%
Book & Magazines 19%
Drink 17%
Arts & Crafts 13%
Health & Fitness 11%
Male Grooming 10%
Cards & Stationary 8%
Music & Film 8%
Petcare 8%
Fashion / Clothing 8%
Family & Kids 7%
Geek & Gaming 6%
Flowers & Plants 5%
Household / domestic 3%

The most popular subscription services are Graze; Birchbox; Hello Fresh; Glossybox; and Gousto

Brand
1. Graze
2. Birchbox
3. Hello Fresh
4. Glossybox
5. Gousto
6. Abel & Cole
7. Harry’s
8. Simply Cook
9. Dollar Shave Club
10. Toucan

The highest typical spend on each subscription category is £30 on drink; followed by plants and flowers £25; geek & gaming £20; health & fitness £14.25; and music and film £12.99.

Subscription box category Typical spend per box
Food £7.99
Beauty £10.99
Male Grooming £11.50
Drink £30.00
Arts & Crafts £7.49
Book & Magazines £15.00
Geek & Gaming £20.00
Health & Fitness £14.25
Household & Domestic £12.50
Plants & Flowers £25.00
Petcare £12.50
Music & Film £12.99

Subscription box use is growing in the UK and is expected to be worth £1bn by 2022. Online retailers who currently use or are thinking of using subscription boxes to get their product to consumers need to work closely with their fulfilment and delivery partners to ensure that the quality of delivery matches the quality of their product. From product production through to delivery the experience of the consumer is critical to the reputation of their brand.

Melanie Darvall, Director Marketing & Communications, Whistl

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