Although the subscription box market has undergone significant transformation in the past few years, it continues to maintain a soaring growth trajectory. In fact, recent estimates project the UK subscription box market to be worth £1.8 billion by 2026. So, what does the future hold for this lucrative industry? In this article, we explore the top four trends that are likely to define the subscription box landscape in 2024.
1. Self-service subscription management
In the UK, 29% of people have a box subscription, and this maturing market is increasingly demanding transparency, autonomy and convenience in all aspects of ecommerce, especially when it comes to managing subscription boxes. Customers are no longer content to wrestle with customer service to cancel subscriptions or make changes, and prefer leveraging apps and interfaces that empower them to handle these tasks independently. Optimising the user experience for subscription management will be a crucial factor for success in the subscription box market.
2. The power of niche boxes
The subscription box market might be saturated in some areas – such as food and beauty, which take up 53% and 31% of users, respectively – but niche offerings continue to see impressive gains. Catering to customers’ unique interests, niche boxes can offer anything from cat treats to artisan pickles. Customers who buy niche boxes are likely to have high lifetime value, as they are already invested in what they are buying.
3. AI and technological advancements
Smart use of technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), will influence the subscription box market profoundly in the next few years. By harnessing AI algorithms to analyse customer preferences and purchase history, companies can derive actionable insights and optimise curation of future boxes. From personalised product selection and upselling recommendations, expect AI and other technologies to become indispensable tools in the personalisation of subscription boxes.
Brands should be seeking to reduce waste: 80% of consumers think that online shipments contain excess packaging. Display your sustainability credentials online and in the subscription box itself. Just be aware of “greenwashing” – be sure to put your money where your mouth is to become a market leader.
Sustainable packaging is now becoming expected: paper packing and recyclable tape are increasing in popularity. The attention of the media is now turning to overconsumption. One approach to reduce consumption is by allowing customers to rent rather than buy. LK Bennett and Marks and Spencer, for example, now offer clothing rental service subscriptions.
Creating engaging experiences
As we approach 2024, the convergence of self-service, personalisation and AI-driven curation has the potential to revolutionise the subscription box market, creating meaningful and engaging experiences for an increasingly discerning customer base.