Thursday 29 July 2021 8:07 pm

Generation Amazon: Subscription lifestyle market to swell to £1bn by next year

From groceries to perfume, clothing, contact lenses, beer and even period care, the subscription lifestyle is booming and the pandemic has only increased the number of us opting for the convenience it provides.

As a result, the subscription box sector is on course to reach over £1bn in market value by 2022, a 77 per cent lift in just five years, according to research by Finder, shared with City A.M. this evening.

An estimated 6.3m of us aged 18 or over are signed up to some form of subscription box service in the UK, the data showed.

The most popular include Amazon Prime, Graze and Nextunlimited although the most popular sectors are food, razors and shaving, perfume and cosmetics and clothing.

Next generation

This change in consumer behaviour is being driven by the younger generation, with 3.37m 18-34-year-olds signed up to subscriptions compared to just 616,000 over 55s. 

One such subscription service is Yoppie, a relatively small player that “pioneers the scheduled delivery of eco-friendly personalised menstrual care for the modern-day woman,” as it describes itself.

It had a 850 per cent increase in subscribers since the second lockdown, and puts this down to the convenience factor as well as the often superior offering that many subscription services offer above that seen on the high street.

Digital consumption

Discussing the rise in subscription services with City A.M., Daniella Peri, founder of Yoppie, said that “such services have become incredibly popular and not just for products that are consumed digitally like Netflix.”

According to Peri, it’s not merely efficiency and convenience that play a role in the uptake of these services: quality is just as important.

“Many of us are also choosing to opt for subscription boxes in order to receive a better quality product than what we might find in our supermarket. These tend to be the less frequent but regularly required items such as period care, contact lenses, or razors that we know we need each month,” she explained.

EstimatesPopulationEst number of UK subscribers
23% of 18-34 year olds14,659,0363,371,578
13% of 35-54 year olds17,478,3432,272,185
3% of 55+ year olds20,536,054616,082

Subscription box market value forecast
YearMarket valueChange
2022 (forecast)1,031,910,00077%

Source: Finder

Remaining relevant

The biggest challenge for subscription providers is to remain relevant beyond an initial novelty purchase and these regularly required items allow us to do that, but Peri believes the sector can do more to evolve and expand beyond a one product solution.

“Aside from the convenience, subscription services are a great way to improve our environmental footprint. Fewer people heading to the shops means fewer cars on the road, or fewer people using public transport, and all of these small wins can really add up,” she stressed.

“More recently, the pandemic and resulting lockdown restrictions have really highlighted the value of subscription services.”

“While we remain some way off from a return to pre-pandemic life, the ability to have what you need delivered, when you need it, can really help overcome some of the uncertainty that continues to impact our day to day life,” Peri concluded.