What’s stopping Americans from using subscription boxes and what’s getting them interested?
January 31st, 2023, Janice Fernandes

What’s stopping Americans from using subscription boxes and what’s getting them interested?

With physical stores getting back to being fully functional post-pandemic, keeping customers interested enough to stick with subscription boxes is a big challenge.

Data from YouGov Profiles shows how many Americans use subscription boxes and which types they tend to receive. More than half the US population (57%) says they don’t use subscription boxes, but among those who do, snacks and drinks (14%) register the highest share of consumers, followed by clothing (12%). Less than one in 20 consumers say they receive subscription boxes of arts and crafts and jewelry (4% each), the lowest of all categories.

Quick, easy, and convenient is the central thought among Americans using subscription boxes. More than two in five consumers (46%) say they subscribe to at least one type of subscription box because it’s convenient. Around a quarter do so because they like the automated process and don’t have to remember to buy every product (25%). Over a third of consumers are open to experimenting and trying new products they would have otherwise not picked out (33%). 

Cost is the biggest deterrent for Americans not to use subscription boxes (60%); preferring to choose products themselves (58%) is the next most likely reason. A quarter of people say the available subscription boxes don’t interest them (25%) and a small share (5%) don’t understand how they work. A notable percentage of over one in ten Americans (12%) say they only try subscription boxes when they are a gift or free.

Marketers trying to pitch subscription boxes to the American population would be interested in knowing the most effective ways to attract eyeballs. Nearly a quarter of consumers who’ve used a subscription box say they heard about it through TV and print advertisements (22%).  

Social media advertisements are the next most likely source of information (18%), but the figure is halved among consumers who’ve heard about subscription boxes through posts from friends (8%).

Recommendations from family members is the third most likely way consumers heard about subscription boxes (14%). Word of mouth through friends registers one in ten consumers (10%), while the figure drops to 6% for consumers who’ve heard of it through colleagues. Nevertheless, overall, these personal recommendations stack up into a significant pipeline for the market. 

Around one in 20 consumers say they have been part of a free trial which is how they heard of the subscription box (6%). Marketers should note that the news is the least likely route to grab consumer attention (1%).

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for US is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash