Home → Research And Insights →

24 Fascinating Subscription Box Statistics Every Consumer Should Know in 2021

Written by, Sandeep Kumar

Updated June, 5, 2021

One of the latest trends that have significantly gained traction in recent years is curated subscription boxes.

Fascinating Facts (Editor’s Pick)

  • In 2020 nearly 70% of US people had numerous subscription boxes.
  • Subscription box services statistics revealed that over 60 percent of subscription boxes come from beauty products and food items.
  • The subscription box market has an estimated value of no less than a mesmerizing $15 bn.
  • Women are more drawn to beauty and apparel subscription services, while men prefer subscribing to razors, video-gaming merchandise, and meal-kit services.
  • More than twenty percent of consumers stated they decided upon subscription boxes because someone recommended it to them.

Buying things online has become the norm lately, and everything you can think of is most likely available on the internet. One of the latest trends that have significantly gained traction in recent years is curated subscription boxes.

These boxes contain goodies ranging from makeup and beauty supplies to healthy ingredients with an easy-to-follow instruction pamphlet on how they should be used.

Since the revolution of eCommerce, these boxes have become a staple in any household.

Want to know more? Stick around and learn about 24 fascinating subscription box statistics every consumer should know in 2021.

The Most Fascinating Subscription Box Industry Statistics 2021

1. The subscription box industry had an increase of 890 percent in just four years.

(Sources: Forbes, CMSWire, Clutch.co)

Though the subscription industry has its roots grounded on newspaper and magazine subscriptions, the revolution of ecommerce has made the industry a very niched one. In other words, it started expanding from serving beauty products to fitness packets, and food items are just a few of the things.

For instance, in 2018, the industry grew by 890 percent, compared to 2017, when it marked an increase of no less than 10 percent.

Needless to say, it is still growing to this very day. Especially now with the introduction of global stay-at-home orders happening.

2. In April 2020, almost 12 percent of sales were from non-store purchases.

(Sources: CNBC, Criteo)

Everyone has gone digital these days. From mega grocery chains to niche-specific items, businesses have ramped up their game regarding e-commerce.

A great example is Sephora. Despite having over 2.000 physical stores, almost 13 percent of their sales happened online.

And since people are more comfortable purchasing items online, this further fuels the subscription box trend.

3. In 2020 nearly 70% of US people had numerous subscription boxes.

(Sources: USA Today, Scalefast, Forbes)

The convenience of shopping has taken the world by storm, especially apparent in the American market. According to the recent subscription box stats, just in 2020, nearly 70% of Americans had numerous subscription boxes. In addition to this, almost 30% of them had no more than 4 subscriptions.

Whereas, from a survey conducted by USA Today (2019), we found out that over 24% of consumers subscribed to subscription box services like the Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox, while as much as 32% intended to sign up for such services.

4. In 2018, subscription services only accounted for 8% of the total shopping sales in the USA.

(Source: Emarketer)

Despite its speedy incline, most people still opted to shop elsewhere. Even though the subscription box industry revenue was high by 2018, subscription boxes weren’t the primary choice of commerce.

Let’s take a look at this quick breakdown:

  • More than 80 percent of shoppers would prefer to go to the retail websites,
  • while 70 percent of consumers would prefer to go in-store,
  • over 40 percent would opt to shop in on-brand sites,
  • nearly 30 percent would purchase via search engines (such as Google),
  • and as much as 12 percent would buy via shopping websites (Wish and Ali Express).

5. The modern-day subscription service, Birchbox, was launched in 2010.

(Source: Shorr, Digital Innovation and Transformation)

Birchbox is one of the leading services in the box trends which target the beauty and grooming niche. Since it landed on the market in 2010, it has observed exponential growth, boosting its sales to a whopping 179% and 800.000 members in less than three years. Like the Columbia Record Club, other subscription services took over four decades to grow their business to as close to what Birchbox achieved in less than five years.

6. No less than 21% of consumers stated they like subscription boxes because they can sample products.

(Source: Emarketer)

Most people are terrified to commit to a long-term relationship, and apparently, this is also evident in the way people shop. Therefore, no less than 21% of consumers appreciate they no longer have to purchase an item in its full-sized bottle and commit to finishing it.

This is where subscription boxes jump in—consumers can try the products before committing to their full-sized counterparts.

7. Subscription box services statistics revealed that over 60 percent of subscription boxes come from beauty products and food items.

(Source: Forbes)

Apparently, in 2018, the most popular products purchased via subscription boxes were both from the beauty industry and meal packages. Furthermore, more than 33% of the total site visitors are from food subscription box sites and are closely followed by beauty subscription sites with no less than 33%. Compared to its followers, it is apparel, which comes at less than 20%, and lifestyle is slightly more than 10%.

8. There is nearly a fifty percent increase in subscription boxes launched in the past year.

(Source: Forbes)

The subscription box market size has grown exponentially in the past few years. According to warehouse management firm, Snapfulfill, there has been a staggering forty-seven percent of subscription box offerings that were started in the past year, only.

9. Brands like Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Birchbox have decreased their total traffic by almost 10 percent.

(Sources: Forbes, SimilarWeb)

Since more and more people are jumping into the so-called “box trend,” big companies such as Birchbox, Home Chef, and

Dollar Shave Club has seen a big hit in their website visits. A significantly high 70 percent of the industry traffic went down to more or less 60 percent because of competition.

10. Almost half (46 percent) of consumers who subscribed to online streaming services are more likely to go for the subscription box trend.

(Source: McKinsey & Company, Statista)

Out of the 5.000 American consumers interviewed, it became more evident than ever that subscriptions are becoming one of the most common ways to purchase goods and services.

Consequently, a total of 46 percent of consumers who are already subscribed to one type of service (such as Spotify or Netflix) opt into subscription boxes for their products. Whereas the most popular non-subscription box services that people subscribe to are, unsurprisingly, video (more than 70 percent) and music (almost 30 percent).

11. The subscription box market has an estimated value of no less than a mesmerizing $15 bn.

(Sources: Fast Company, Save My Cent)

The subscription box industry has been steadily growing

Let’s break it down and see its steady increase so far:

  • Today, this mighty market is estimated at no less than $15 bn.
  • Whereas, in 2016, its value steadily expanded to around $3 bn.
  • Compared to 2011, when it was retailed at somewhat less than $60MM.

Services like media subscriptions (streaming services like Netflix and Spotify), meal kits, and product replenishment programs were also included in this total.

12. The subscription box industry is divided into three major categories.

(Sources: PitchBook, Clutch.io)

Most people don’t know, but subscription boxes are divided mainly into three types:

  • Replenishment – Replenishment subscriptions are boxes that allow their subscribers to top up on the products they usually purchase without hassle.
  • Curation – Curated boxes are so as to surprise their consumers by providing personalized items based on their preferences.
  • Access – Access-types boxes take on a more upscale feel, as it provides its members with exclusive perks and discounts.

13. More than half (55 percent) of the total subscriptions are curation boxes.

(Source: Clutch.io)

It’s no surprise that novelty takes the cake on the subscription box trends. Curation boxes aim to give the element of joy and surprise to their recipients. As a result, it shows domination over replenishment services (which account for more than 30 percent of the total subscriptions) and access subscriptions (which amount to 13 percent).

14. Home Chef was the most subscribed box service for 2020.

(Sources: Clutch, USA Today, Impact Plus, PR Newswire)

According to the latest subscription box stats, it turns out Home Chef is THE chef to go to. There are so many meal kits to choose from nowadays; however, it resulted in Home Chef being the best among all for 2020.

This meal company makes you THE CHEF at home by providing you with day-to-day fresh supplies and manageable and simple-to-follow recipes.

Followed by a box service that has the best of meats all around, Crowd Cow. Now we know where people get their high in protein, juicy meat.

For instance, the most sought subscription box service for 2019 was the Dollar Shave Club (according to Clutch’s survey results). The brand is considered a replenishment subscription box. It gives its consumers personal grooming products marketed for its high-quality razors that are a buck apiece.

15. Subscription box demographics indicate that above 40% of male shoppers have three or more active subscriptions.

(Source: McKinsey & Company, Save My Cent, Forbes)

Shopping is a routine, and most (average) subscribers would only have two active subscription boxes. However, interestingly enough, male subscribers are more likely to have more than one active subscription (forty-two percent) than women (twenty-eight percent).

The results as mentioned above lead to a simple conclusion that men are more likely to go for boxes’ convenience and minimize store trips as much as possible.

Nonetheless, this will come a bit as a surprise. However, it’s interesting to know that besides the fact that most subscribers are females (sixty percent), the number of active subscribers of males surpasses the other (2021).

16. Women are more drawn to beauty and apparel subscription services, while men prefer subscribing to razors, video-gaming merchandise, and meal-kit services.

(Sources: McKinsey & Company, ResearchGate)

Unsurprisingly, there is also a divide into what each gender subscribes to. Therefore, let’s see who prefers what.
Popular subscription boxes for women are:

  • Stitch Fix (apparel),
  • ShoeDazzle (shoes),
  • Ipsy (makeup),
  • and AdoreMe (Lingerie).

Men, on the other hand, gravitate to brands such as

  • Harry’s (razors),
  • Loot Crate (video-gaming collectibles),
  • Blue Apron (meal kits),
  • and HelloFresh (meal kit).

17. Subscription box market research unveiled the highest-valued subscription box company is FabFitFun (especially for women).

(Source: Pitchbook, My Subscription Addiction)

Since its launch, FabFitFun raised $80 million in a growth round of funding after almost a decade. By steadily expanding its curated choices, the Los Angeles-based company has its lifestyle empire valued at higher than $1B ( 2019).

Among the other highly-valued subscription box companies are the following:

Men’s choice is Bespoke Post
Kids love KiwiCo
Teens go nuts about Ipsy.

18. 28% of consumers say that a personalized experience was the most crucial reason for subscribing.

(Sources: Forbes, Visiture, McKinsey&Company, Forbes 50 Stats Showing The Power Of Personalization)

People are attracted to new things and inventions. And who doesn’t love it when we have something useful to greet us delivered right at our doorstep after a long day? Many subscribers agree with that sentiment. The latest subscription box market research pointed out that nearly 30% of the surveyed subscribers said that the turning point when subscribing to automated boxes is the personalized experiences.

19. According to subscription box trends, baby food with nearly 50 percent is the most popular gift among orders.

(Sources: Emarketer, CNET)

People don’t order just for themselves. Subscription boxes are also trendy gifts, especially when you (the giver) know their preferences and current needs.

Some statistics show that the most popular categories for gifts were baby food (48 percent). Among them were brands like Yumi or Pure Spoon. These were followed by no food-related children products with 40 percent, like Jack Baby Outfit Box and Amazon’s STEM Club Toy Subscription.

20. More than twenty percent of consumers stated they decided upon subscription boxes because someone recommended them to them.

(Source: McKinsey & Company)

One of McKinsey & Company’s polls stated that recommendations are the primary trigger for customer subscriptions.

According to a few subscription box industry analyses, twenty-four percent of the surveyed consumers for curated subscriptions said they signed up for the service only because someone recommended it.

This narrative is also the primary reason for subscribing for other types of subscriptions: twenty percent for replenishment subscription, twenty-four percent for access subscription, and twenty-three percent because of good money value.

21. More than half of those who are thinking of subscribing end up doing it.

(Source: McKinsey & Company, Forbes)

Contrary to the skyrocketing subscription box projection trends, making the subscription business model work is not merely a walk in the park.

Aside from the problems that arise during the acquisition of the actual products inside the box, 53 percent of consumers know the brands that provide this service. In the end, no more than 55 percent of those who are thinking of subscribing end up following through. It’s probably because people are reluctant to sign up for a long-term commitment.

22. At least thirteen percent of the many subscription box companies worldwide have put operations at a halt.

(Sources: Fast Company, Business 2 Community)

All of the subscription box service statistics point out the evident overcrowding in the world of subscription boxes. Since the competitors increase every year, it’s no surprise that some companies have stopped selling altogether. Hence, these companies were unable to make their business models successful.

23. More or less, 40% of eCommerce subscribers have canceled their subscriptions.

(Sources: McKinsey & Company, Forbes, Shopify)

Given the challenges of the subscription box business model, it’s no surprise that some people aren’t sold out to the craze. Almost forty percent of these subscribers have canceled their subscription, and these rates are similar across the different types of services, following the subscription box industry stats.

Perhaps, people are just terrified to commit in the long term. Some consumers are just dissatisfied with the services, or others prefer purchasing goods and services whenever they feel like it.

In the very end, this high cancellation rate would eventually turn out to be more difficult for subscription companies to cover the acquisition costs.

24. Meal-kit companies have up to a 70% cancellation rate.

(Source: Forbes)

Numerous subscription box trends have come and gone, but it seemed like the food category will be around forever.
Given that food is a must-have in every household, it’s no surprise that the competition is fierce when it comes to this subscription box niche. It has been observed that the meal-kit category has around 60-70% rates of cancellation within the first six months, perhaps even higher. This high cancellation rate could either be the effect of competitive prices or the market’s oversaturation.

FAQs

1. What is the most popular subscription box?

(Source: Clutch)

According to several studies on the trends and rapid growth of the subscription box industry, here are the five most dominant ones on today’s market: Dollar Shave Club (29 percent), Ipsy (21%) is the most common, followed by Blue Apron (17%), BarkBox (17%), and HelloFresh (17%). (16 percent).

2. Why are subscription boxes so popular?

(Source: Forbes)

Apart from their novelty, these services offer convenience to their subscribers. On the plus side, it also gives a solution to the oversaturation of our current market.

Take the makeup industry, for example. With the flood of new and exciting brands hitting the market practically every season, services like Ipsy and Boxy Charm can send you an array of samples to try before deciding to purchase the product in its full-sized bottles.

3. How many subscription services are there?

(Sources: Shorr, Conjoint.ly)

In 2018, the number of subscription services marked an increase by 3.500, that’s a forty percent increase from the previous year. Therefore, some of the most visited services included fitness, food, and beauty.
In 2016, a record-breaking estimation of over 2.000 subscription box services was noted, on top of nearly 21.5 million website visits, these services have gotten.

4. Who buys subscription boxes?

(Source: Subta)

The demographic for subscription box consumers is roughly around 6 million. Surprisingly, it’s the late millennials who are leading the packs. These customers are more likely to be between the ages of 25 and 44, around an average of $79.000 per year.

The interesting thing about it is that nearly six out of 10 website visitors are women. On the other hand, male shoppers have more active subscriptions.

5. Are subscription boxes a waste of money?

(Sources: Money Crashers, Trendy Money)

Subscription boxes come with their own set of caveats—most notably not being able to pick out specific items you want to purchase.

Most people appreciate getting monthly packages; however, not everything in the curated box is appreciated despite choosing from the limited range of products given. Not to mention, most people won’t bother returning the items they dislike, so it would just be paying for something you don’t like and have no intention of ever using.

Conclusion

Subscription box statistics show the industry is riding on all sorts of highs right now. And this is exceptionally evident because of the global stay-at-home orders.

Especially now, during these tough trying times, we could all use that sense of joy whenever we receive goodies. Even though it has few drawbacks here and there, as long as it gives you joy or convenience getting a box every month or so, there’s no harm in getting more!