Media subscription services for video, music and software have become so ingrained in our routines that for many, monthly fees are just a part of life. But consumers can only budget so much for these conveniences. Are media budgets squeezing out meal kits and other subscription box services?
According to a June 2018 survey by mobile agency Fetch, the majority of US internet users subscribe to a video service (71%). That figure drops dramatically for other categories, including retail-focused ones. For example, 18% said they subscribe to a fashion and beauty subscription service, while 10% used a grocery service.
The data suggests that even though there is a wide gap in purchasing items other than media via subscription, there is still widespread interest in grocery services and fashion and beauty boxes. Close to a third of the survey respondents said they are investigating services like Amazon Fresh and Blue Apron, and 29% are looking into companies like Birchbox, StitchFix and Dollar Shave Club. Fewer than 10% are currently trialing a retail subscription service.
While the survey found widespread use of mobile devices, app usage in the retail categories was fairly low. For groceries, just 12% of respondents had downloaded a related app. That figure was 16% for beauty and fashion. This isn't very surprising since food and clothing can't be consumed via mobile the way news or music can. Still, it presents an opportunity for retail brands to engage and personalize the shopping experience.
Media subscription services also presumably have an advantage in that their content may well be consumed daily. Retail categories tend to be used less frequently: Most respondents said they used them at least once per month, but not weekly. Consumers also spend more on them; 25% spend $40+ monthly on grocery services, while 15% spend that much on beauty and fashion services. Only 5% spend in that range on video, for example. There is a greater upside for retail services, especially since the category is relatively underpenetrated.