Sep 20, 2019
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Over half of young consumers use subscription boxes, beauty is key

Sep 20, 2019

Subscription boxes continue to win new fans in the UK and while food delivery is the most popular product category, beauty is in second place with the channel becoming an important one for beauty product sales, especially to young consumers.


Delivery specialist Whistl surveyed 1,000 consumers and found 53% have a food box subscription, with Graze the most popular service. But a hefty 31% of them also have a beauty subscription, and it’s perhaps no surprise that Birchbox is in the lead here, although Glossybox comes in fourth place and Dollar Shave Club is at number nine.

If you add the 10% of consumers who also have a male grooming subscription to the beauty figure, that underlines even more how important this category is. 

But fashion/clothing has made less of an impact in this channel, and scores only 8% to put it in joint eighth place.

So exactly who’s using subscription services the most? No surprise that it's young consumers and women. Overall, 38% of the UK population has used a subscription box service of which 45% of women use them compared to 30% of men. There’s a higher penetration of use in the 18-31year-old group with 58% using them, compared to the over 65s where only 17% have been won over to the subscription channel. 

Perhaps unexpectedly, the use of subscription box services rises with household income and 45% of Londoners used them compared to the lowest subscription rate, in Northern Ireland, at 19%.

When asked about regularity of delivery, 58% are monthly, followed by weekly 23%, 8% bi-monthly and 11% less frequently. And the highest typical spend on each subscription category is £30 on drink, but beauty’s spend is £10.99, while male grooming beats it on £11.50.

Melanie Darvall, Director Marketing & Communications at Whistl, said: “Subscription box use is growing in the UK and is expected to be worth £1bn by 2022.”

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