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Something for you: investigating the subscription box boom

by Paul McGuigan

Subscription boxes are taking Britain by storm.

The market for these regular deliveries – which tend to offer a selection of curated products packaged as an experience – is set to be worth £1 billion by 2022, according to Royal Mail.

Subscription boxes promise to offer extra value to customers by including surprises, special offers and savings, as well as a chance to experiment with new products.

Brands offering products which enjoy high interest amongst millennials – such as beauty products, vinyl records, and even house plants – are seeing particular success with the model.

  • So why are they taking off with brands and consumers alike?

    For brands, there’s two main reasons. First, subscription boxes offer a novel route to create a sense of community around your brand. Products are teased on social feeds before posting, and the box design and inserts allow brand personality to shine. Secondly, they provide an opportunity to commit customers to regular purchases in a transparent and familiar payment model.

    For consumers, they offer a chance for those low on time to discover and access products that they wouldn’t normally be able to, and the design-led nature of the unboxing ‘experience’ provides perfect eye candy for Instagram feeds. More simply, they’re a treat; a way for people to reward themselves. And, as higher ticket items become increasingly out of reach for younger generations, the subscription box boom has arrived at a the perfect moment.

  • We spoke to our client and entrepreneur Victoria Robertshaw, co-owner of Keelham Farm Shop, to get her view:

    “I love the idea of giving a gift that continues through the year. Brands have taken the principle behind the magazine subscription and definitely made it more exciting. My family are big fans of a monthly delivery: my son Harry has a shaving kit, the girls have a monthly Glossybox and Betty Box.

    It’s something that works for everyone and is a growing market too. I replaced the girls’ beauty boxes at Christmas with a more ethical, natural beauty version that I’ve spotted, and went for a foodie one for my son who’s at university and has, surprisingly, really started to enjoy cooking!

    As for Keelham getting involved with the trend, it’s on my list of new developments for 2019. Watch this space”.

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