According to a survey conducted by ratings and review platform Clutch, more than half (54%) of online shoppers say they use a subscription service.
The leading platform was Dollar Shave Club (29&), followed by Ipsy (21%), Blue Apron (17%), BarkBox (17%), HelloFresh (16%), Birchbox (14%), and Sephora Play (14%).
The survey states that from April 2014 to April 2018, the industry grew by 890%, with the services offered falling into one of three (McKinsey defined) categories; Curation (55%), replenishment (32%), and access (13%).
Analysis & Comments
- While it is clear that subscription services as a group are growing strongly, it’s a slightly different story when you dig down into different categories and then individual subscription service providers.
- As this 2018 article from Forbes highlights (quoting research from Hitwise), with a couple of exceptions, some of the early subscription front runners have faded & which service is popular seems to vary year by year. The research suggests that in some categories, the eventual winner might not even have been created yet.
- Who is doing well…(remembering this list has a US bias), it’s Dollar Shave Club, then a cluster of 4 services. Ipsy – for makeup, Barkbox – for dog owners & Blue Apron & HelloFresh for new meals (ingredients, not take away).
- An interesting point that some might miss on e-commerce generally & subscription services specifically, is that they have very specific packaging requirements – any old brown cardboard box just will not do, as this recent article highlights - personalisation at scale adds complexity.