Subscription boxes remain popular in the UK

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According to Royal Mail’s UK Subscription Box Market report, the impact of the pandemic has caused subscription boxes continue to grow in popularity among UK consumers. Among some of the most popular are food, drink, recipe boxes and male grooming.

Food and drink subscription boxes, as well as recipe box subscription services, witnessed the highest growth year-on-year in 2020, as consumers dialed up more home deliveries with supermarkets’ online capacity stretched to the limit. Consumers were also wooed by subscription boxes’ curated approach to meals with easy instructions, and easy access to alternative and specialist food suppliers. Both markets have a combined value of over £1 billion (up from £420 million in 2017) with this forecast to grow to over £1.5 billion by 2025.

“The last year has created new spending and shopping habits that have changed the way consumers are interacting with retailers and increased their appetite for subscription boxes. This is a great opportunity for businesses of all sizes to tap into changing consumer interests and provide regular deliveries of goods.

“With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail is playing a key role in keeping carbon emissions low. A large proportion of subscription items are sent in smaller boxes and so are ideally suited for low emission on-foot delivery by Royal Mail.”
– Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Mail

UK subscription box market to be worth £1.8 billion by 2025

The UK subscription box market is set to be worth £1.8 billion by 2025. The forecast comes as the subscription box market has seen its value more than double in size (135%) since Royal Mail’s last report on the industry, based on figures from 2017. Consumers spent almost £1.4 billion on subscription box purchases in 2020 and delivery providers made just under 88 million subscription box deliveries to subscribers across the UK.

The growth in purchasing essential items online has bolstered the subscription box market in the UK. This has been particularly evident in categories such as male grooming, where there is a consistent, predictable need to replace and replenish items, and subscriptions offer a hassle-free alternative to traditional purchasing behaviour. The male grooming subscription market grew 108% between 2017 and 2020 to reach a value of £41.7 million.

Elsewhere, other everyday health and beauty products are also seeing strong growth. This sector has grown from being worth £43 million in 2017 to £79 million in 2020. It is forecast to grow to £92 million by 2025. 11 percent of UK shoppers are currently signed up to a health and beauty subscription box service.

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