The subscription box craze isn’t new, but the COVID-19 pandemic has played a huge role in subscriptions experiencing a renaissance as many brick-and-mortar businesses struggled. Wicked reports analyzed specific trends around subscription boxes and their broader economy to illustrate the impact of the pandemic on the industry.
Subscriptions have grown in popularity largely due to their convenience. In the depths of the US lockdowns that began in March 2020, many people have turned to shopping online so they can shop safely at home. Subscriptions were not limited to just food and household items. There were also strong gains in beauty products, personal care boxes and pet supplies. Streaming services have also seen a huge increase subscriptions during the pandemic, surpassing one billion subscribers worldwide for the first time.
Subscription boxes are also called replenishment services and usually consist of several products, either selected by the customer or organized by the service itself (especially in the case of niche products). Items are shipped to customers on a regular schedule. Customers sign up for these services for a variety of reasons, including to get a trusted source of specific products they use regularly, such as fresh vegetables or groceries, or to try different items from their favorite brands, or to test products they haven’t tried. , which often come as “surprise items” in their box.
One July 2021 customer survey conducted by manufacturing company Jabil found that 79% of consumers expressed interest in auto-replenishment services, following an upward trend that had already seen gains among consumers the previous year. Basic household products such as food, personal care and pet supplies were the biggest draws, and the results further revealed that the popularity of subscription box services is directly correlated with income level. and geographic residence, with urban centers having a higher trend of subscribers.
Subscription services have not always received such large gains. In 2010, when subscription box services began to take off with pioneering offerings from Birchbox and Blue Apron, companies struggled to retain subscribed customers. Consumers expected these services to save time and money and many found the subscription boxes to be expensive. Therefore, early subscription service model companies had to reformulate and find other ways to attract customers.
Changing consumer perception and preference over the past decade has turned the tide on the popularity of subscription boxes. Keep reading to learn how the pandemic in particular has revived the subscription box industry.