The UK Subscription Box Market Report from Royal Mail is now out and it is fascinating reading – even if you don’t work in this exciting industry like we do!
This illuminating report reveals that consumers in London, West Midlands and Northern Ireland are most likely to be signed up to subscription services, which is sort of true for Boxcitement, though we have lots of loyal customers throughout the UK, and Scotland and the South coast are also hot spots for us!
What we didn’t know is that almost half of Londoners are currently signed up to at least one subscription box, followed by over a third of shoppers based in the West Midlands. Our friends in the North East have the most subscription boxes per person with an average of 5 – you go girls!
What is really heartening to learn is that subscribers are very loyal to their boxes (we knew that already), with fewer than a quarter of subscribers regretting their subscriptions or thinking of cancelling.
The Royal Mail report also looked at subscription boxes and sustainability, a subject that is very important to us at Boxcitement.
“Subscription boxes have become a big part of many people’s lives over the last year and we expect this trend to continue. A large proportion of subscription items are sent in smaller boxes and so are ideally suited for our low emission on-foot delivery service.”
– Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Mail
As we become more and more popular with UK shoppers, we are increasingly focusing on environmental and social requirements and keeping emissions low so that we can continue to offer our amazing boxes while being friendly to the planet. For example:
• Boxcitement use Royal Mail to post our boxes – they have the lowest reported CO2 emissions per parcel amongst any major UK delivery companies.
• We use 100% recyclable letterbox packaging, offset all of our carbon emissions and use environmentally sustainable inks, cottons, woods and plastics when creating our products.
• We minimise any waste with our practice of offering free bonus boxes made up of stock we haven’t used.
Subscription boxes as gifts
Between 2017 and 2020, spending on subscription boxes purchased as gifts for others increased 121.2%. Of course in 2020 this was driven by the pandemic, creating difficulty in purchasing physical gifts - subscription boxes such as Boxcitement represented the opportunity to send thoughtful gifts during a period when many friends and family were apart. The growth in subscription box gift purchasing was driven by categories such as books, health & beauty and jewellery. We witnessed a surge in demand during the height of the pandemic as our boxes are based on the idea of 'opening happiness' - something which we all wanted to do when stuck at home.
Communicating is key
The report also highlighted the rise in social media as a main communication channel. Social media has allowed subscription box companies to communicate with customers more than ever before - relationship building is an important part of a subscription as relationships can last for months and years. It's much easier to reach an audience if you have something specific to say - for example Boxcitement's messaging has always been about creating happiness and smiles, which is a stronger message for us than simply describing what's inside our boxes. We can also reach out to people who love creativity, stationery, jewellery and surprises - as our boxes contain all of the above! Our blogs, which aim to connect our subscribers to resources to help with mental health, are also a key feature which we like to promote to new customers.
Small is beautiful
Small independent businesses have been able to tap into the growing trend for subscription boxes. The services they offer - from niche products to exclusive designs - appeal to customers who are becoming more aware of the need to support small businesses. Relationships are more intimate and the ability to create excellent customer service is easier with a small retailer who sees and appreciates every new subscription. While big players like Amazon are starting to enter the subscription arena, we like to think here at Boxcitement that our attention to detail, unique products and desire to make each and every customer happy will always help us to stand out.
It makes us all so happy here at Boxcitement to be part of an industry that is growing sustainably, making customers happy and giving opportunities to small creative businesses throughout the UK. If you have any thoughts on what makes the perfect subscription box – we’d love to know!
If all this wasn’t exciting enough, our founder and creative guru Deb is speaking at the NEC this Autumn as an expert on subscription services, talking about how Boxcitement got started and how creating a monthly box really works – look out for a blog outlining how that went very soon!
Best wishes for now, the Boxcitement team
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