Why Subscription Boxes Are The Future Of Shopping

Did you know that us Brits spend over £2 billion a year on subscription boxes? We pay companies a monthly fee, and in return they send you a monthly box of goodies, themed to whatever you want. The biggest sector is still beauty boxes, but you can get subscription boxes for fashion, food, books video games, collectibles, craft supplies, kids educational toys and even true crime mystery kits. No matter what you’re into, what your style is, or what you do in your free time, you can bet there’s a subscription box out there for you! But this got us thinking – where did the idea for subscription boxes originally come from, and are they really the future of shopping?

Where Did Subscription Boxes Come From?

If we look back in time, subscriptions as a service dates back to 1926, in rural America, where a journalist called Harry Scherman wanted to break into the rural book market. Since many people couldn’t travel to cities, he decided that mail was the best way to reach these people. So invented a new model – charge a monthly fee, and send subscribers whatever books he wanted them to read. This created the fundamental skeleton for the subscription box service we know today.

Subscription boxes as we know them today are actually a pretty new concept on the market, as far as retail goes. The first modern subscription box was BirchBox, a monthly beauty box, which originally launched in 2010. It’s now valued at around $485 million with nearly 400,000 monthly subscribers, and was said to have led the charge for subscription boxes. Their success inspired other beauty brands to follow suit, and before long other sectors were adapting their business models to accommodate a subscription service. Part of the big appeal of subscription boxes is that consumers can discover products they might not have otherwise, try them risk free, and know where to buy them if they enjoyed them.

And that was just the beginning! From 2013 to 2018 the subscription e-commerce market grew 100% year-on-year, and in the last year that number has almost doubled. The pandemic has meant that more and more people are looking for ways to indulge in and enjoy their hobbies, even when they haven’t been able to leave the house. And the best way to do that is have the hobbies come to them! A little more than half of online consumers were already using subscription box services before Covid-19, (and usually more than one), and 38% of customers planned to increase their active subscription, or take up additional subscriptions in 2021.

So it’s safe to say that your friendly neighbourhood subscription service isn’t going anywhere!

Are Subscription Boxes Really The Future?

Honestly, yes! There is so much demand for new and innovative subscription services in all sectors, and new types of subscription box are being launched and becoming successful every year – including us! But there are a few really killer reasons that subscription boxes aren’t going anywhere, and why they’re set to become the future of shopping.


We All Love a Treat: Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love getting presents in the post? Even a card can feel special when it’s hidden in a pile of bills! And there’s nothing better than getting a beautifully crafted and printed box delivered to you door, full of products you know you’ll enjoy. Subscription boxes aren’t just convenient for customers, they’re like receiving a little treat through the post every month, and give us a nice big hit of feel-good dopamine too! And when businesses get the products and the unboxing experience right, they get loyal customers who actively look forward to getting their box each month.

We’ve Never Been Richer, or Poorer: Granted, the economy has taken a bit of a tumble thanks to Covid, but before it hit (and in the next few years) many people found themselves with more disposable income than previous generations. But along with an increase in money came a decrease in something else – time! We are an incredibly time-poor generation, working more hours than ever before and still trying to find time to cram in family, friends and a social life. So our ability to go out and shop around for the things we need is pretty limited. This is one of the reasons the subscription box services came into being, and why they’re so popular. You can get that shopping spree feeling, get your hands on new products, without having to sacrifice any of your precious free time. And as more demands are made on our time, we’re sure that subscription boxes will keep climbing in popularity. 

Specialised Interests: For many customers, subscription boxes provide a seamless shopping experience from start to finish – and one that can be tailored to exactly what they enjoy. Thanks to the huge variety of boxes out there, we’re almost guaranteed to be able to find something that interests you. They’re also a great chance to get your hands on exclusive goodies – things the general public might not have access to, that make you feel like part of a special club of like-minded people. And who doesn’t enjoy feeling like part of an exclusive club!

Of course, we love shop boxes – so much so that we made one! We saw a gap in the market for a fashion, beauty and homeware box that provides exclusive luxury items, so you can feel like a birthday princess every month. Our boxes are years in the making, and by using our short style quiz you can be sure that your box will be filled to the brim with goodies that perfectly match your style. If you want to see what it’s all about, why not subscribe? And as a bonus, use the code Shopbox10 to get £10 off your first box!

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