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How is your subscription box business performing? Chances are, you’re seeing increased enquiries and new subscriptions, but also more competition. From meal kits to comics (and everything in between) new subscription box businesses are launching all the time. So, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, read the top subscription box trends you need to know in 2022 now…

The rise and rise of subscription boxes

When we said at the outset of this article that you’re probably seeing increased enquiries and new subscriptions, that wasn’t just rhetoric.

If you’re running a subscription box business, then you should be seeing increased growth; both now and over the next few years.

The data backs up this assertion.

According to Statista, subscription eCommerce revenue will top $38 billion, more than double the revenue it generated in 2019.

Here in the UK, the picture is looking similarly rosy.

A recent report by the Royal Mail forecasts that the subscription box market is going to grow by an enormous 72% by the end of 2022, taking the value from £583 million in 2017 to just over £1 billion.

Oh, and remember what we said about competitors?

There are about to be a whole lot more to contend with; at least if you believe Belmont Packaging who have found that 67% of UK retailers are planning to launch a subscription service this year.

The subscription box trends you need to know in 2022

With all that in mind, you’ll want to be as informed as you can about the latest trends affecting the subscription box industry.

After all, there’s a lot that goes into making a subscription box business successful.

So, that’s what we’ll look at now.

Increased subscriber loyalty

The first, and most positive, trend that subscription box businesses should expect to see in 2022 is increased subscriber loyalty.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, a large number of consumers decided to try subscriptions for the first time.

And, whilst this was an obviously positive thing for most subscription box businesses, there was also a downside.

Many of these consumers were what the industry calls ‘subscription curious’ i.e. they wanted to try it out, but weren’t necessarily going to be long term subscribers.And, that’s exactly what transpired.

Throughout 2021, only 52% of consumers (according to the Subscription Trade Association) who signed up for a new subscription intended to keep it.

They were the epitome of ‘try and subscribe’ customers.

This led to significant amounts of ‘churn’, which can make business planning, forecasting and budgeting particularly difficult for subscription-based businesses.

Thankfully, the picture is radically different here in 2022.

This year, according to the Subscription Trade Association, nearly one-third of consumers have at least one retail subscription service that they intend to keep for the long term.

Make sure you’re that one subscription.

Personalisation and customisation

The most committed subscription customers are willing to commit to a long-term relationship with a brand.

But, as part of that commitment, they are increasingly expecting subscription box businesses to customise and personalise their offer.

Whether that’s including a note with their name in their subscription boxes, or allowing annual subscribers to customise what they receive in their subscription boxes, personalisation and customisation is a key trend to watch in 2022.

To make sure that you’re offering the right kinds of customisations and personalisations, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • Do I know them well enough?
  • Is my audience actually happy with what I am offering?
  • What can I do to build further loyalty to my subscription business?
  • What level of customisation/personalisation does my audience expect?

Answer these questions and you’ll go a long way towards building a dedicated, passionate and loyal subscriber base that’ll be more willing to stay subscribed for the long term.

Changing subscription product mix

As the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts begin to gain more spending power, their tastes and preferences are changing the goods and services being offered by businesses.

And, the same goes for subscription-based businesses.

As a result, according to research from Attest, the most popular subscription choices are now shifting to:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Alcohol

According to that same research, there currently remain significant gaps within these areas that are still not being adequately fulfilled by subscription businesses.

So, if you’re thinking of diversifying your subscription business, clothing, shoes or alcohol could well be a winning proposition amongst younger consumers.

Value for money

Whilst many subscription businesses shout about their environmental credentials and/or their broader positive contributions to society, value for money remains one of the most important considerations for subscription box consumers.

Data from consumer research company Attest reveals that only one in four subscription consumers are driven by a brand having a strong purpose or mission.

Instead, consumers want the best possible value for money.

This is particularly true for subscription businesses in the FMCG space. When it comes to things like commonly used household items e.g. razors, competitive pricing will trump ethos or mission most of the time.

Take Harry’s for example. This subscription razor service prominently advertises the fact that its blades are about half the price of the leading 5-blade razor.

There’s a reason that Harry’s is now one of the world’s most well known and successful subscription businesses…

It’s a lesson worth incorporating into your own subscription business, particularly given the amount of competition that’s now appearing in this space.

Educational content

Increasingly people are not merely subscribing to a subscription service for a product, but for the added educational content that comes along with it.

Not only does educational content increase the likelihood that someone will subscribe in the first place, but it keeps people engaged once they are subscribed.

There are multiple excellent examples of this in the meal kit space, where subscribers to brands like Gousto have access to recipes, cooking videos and more.

Educational content that helps people learn a new skill or improve an existing one, is a trend which first began to flower during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. But we reckon that 2022 is the year that educational content will really cement itself as a core part of the subscription company business model.

If you’re not offering complementary educational content alongside your subscriptions, then consumers will choose subscription brands that are!

Timely subscription box fulfilment

One thing that’ll never be just a ‘trend’ in the subscription box business, is timely fulfilment.

When a consumer signs up for a subscription, they want to receive it in a timely, consistent manner.

3PL’s subscription box fulfilment services can help you do just that.

We use our decades of combined experience to manage the entire fulfilment from end to end, so that your customers are not only happy, but you have more time to concentrate on what you do best – building and developing your subscription business.


Find out more about 3PL’s subscription box fulfilment services now

For more subscription business and eCommerce advice and information, read the 3PL blog

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