More shoppers are trying subscription box sites

Subscription box sites like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club are rapidly growing in popularity, according to Hitwise, a division of Connexity, a company that provides marketers information about online behavior.

Birchbox

(Provided)

Visits to subscription box sites have grown by nearly 3,000 percent over the past three years, according to a study released this week by Hitwise. There were more than 21.4 million visits in January 2016, compared to just 722,000 in 2013, the study found.

“While the subscription shopping category is still a niche market, with total monthly visits just a third of one percent of what the top retailers receive, these sites appeal to a critically important segment of consumers, ages 25-34 who are entering the prime of their earning and spending years which should sustain continued growth in the category,” says John Fetto, senior analyst, Hitwise. “Traditional retailers should—and some already are—take note of the success that start-ups in this industry have enjoyed and determine if a subscription model would be a smart extension to their existing product line up.”

Subscription box shoppers tend to have above average income and education levels, fall predominantly into the 25 to 39 year-old age bracket and skew more heavily female than the average online shopper, the study found. They tend to live in multicultural urban neighborhoods in larger cities or the surrounding suburbs, the study found.

“Subscription box shoppers are primarily comprised of older Millennials and younger Gen Xers who have reached a stage in their lives where they’re more established, have higher disposable incomes and have found online and mobile shopping to be increasingly easy and more convenient, enjoyable and cost effective than shopping in physical stores,” Fetto said. “Because even with their rising affluence, this audience still loves a good deal.”

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