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Published
May 25, 2021
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British households spend £400 each on subscription boxes

Published
May 25, 2021

Britons are increasingly switching on to subscription boxes and the pandemic has helped accelerate a trend that was already moving fast before the global health crisis started.


Photo: Pexels/Public domain


Subscription boxes cover a wide range of products from beauty and fashion to food and flowers.

New research from Emarsys shows that one in five UK households are now signed up to a subscription service, spending on average £35 a month — or more than £400 every year.

And as many as 8% of Britons spend over £75 a month — that’s £900 a year — on both physical and digital subscriptions. Meanwhile, 52% of UK shoppers have subscribed to – or plan to subscribe to – a monthly subscription for products and 44% of consumers do the majority of their subscription shopping on their mobile phones.

That’s according to research conducted among 2,000 UK consumers.

It showed that “subscriptions were a welcome way for consumers to treat themselves every month” during the lockdowns of the past year. 

But the appeal stretches beyond lockdown periods and subscription boxes are about more than making housebound consumers feel better. 

When considering why Britons buy them, the study showed that the initial draw for most is the offer of a free trial (29%). However the element of surprise that a subscription service offers each month is another key reason, with nearly a quarter of consumers (22%) admitting this adds to their allure. 

Chris Godderidge, VP Mobile at Emarsys said: “Our research shows that UK consumers are voting with their wallets and loving the range of subscription services available to them. With shoppers spending more time than ever browsing on their mobile devices during lockdown, many smart brands have adopted a subscription model, in order to be able to reach new customers who, in ‘normal times’, may never have considered signing up to receive their products and services.”

But of course, with the reopening, the challenge for brands is to keep customers interested and maintaining their subscriptions. Godderidge added that a personalised experience is key, especially now that the tech exists to achieve this on mobile.

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