Not in the mood to decide what to make for dinner? Need a personal stylist to help pick out clothes? There’s a subscription box for that and so much more. Professionally curated boxes, such as Stitch Fix, Birchbox, Club W, and Blue Apron, have skyrocketed within the last few years. There are hundreds of different services for almost anything – from razor deliveries, to pet products, to kids’ crafts and activities. Not only are the boxes convenient, but they are also exciting to receive and are somewhat addictive. And considering the large amount of potential consumers in the market for subscription boxes, it seems they will continue filling mailboxes.

Since July, CivicScience polled over 7,700 U.S. adults on their subscription box ownership and found 8% subscribe to at least one service, possibly more. But there’s still a large share of the market (24%) who plan to subscribe or would consider subscribing to a curated box service.

subscription box services January 2016

By profiling those who already participate and those who are considering a service (“potential subscribers”), companies offering or thinking of offering a subscription service or recurring shipment program can better target consumers.

Let’s first start with the demographics of current subscribers and potential subscribers and compare them to the average U.S. adult.

Current subscribers:

  • 50%, 50% gender split.
  • 50% more likely to be 25-34 years old (older Millennials).
  • 47% more likely to have a household income over $125K.
  • 40% are parents, which is 18% more likely than the average.
  • 23% more likely to rent their current house/apartment.

Potential subscribers:

  • 17% more men say they plan to or would consider subscribing than women.
  • 33% more likely to be 18-34 (Millennials).
  • 17% more likely to have a household income over $100K.
  • 40% are parents, which is 18% more than the average.

Current subscribers and potential subscribers look very similar – both are younger and have a higher income than average. Their younger age and parental status means they are likely to be parents of younger children, so subscription boxes may be a convenient and easy way to shop and try new things. Also, potential subscribers are more likely to be men who are probably hoping to eliminate the perceived hassle of shopping.

Aside from basic demographics, we also uncovered potential subscribers’ interests. This will be valuable to see what product categories they may show more interest in and what categories they are most informed about.

Here are the top four topics potential subscribers’ value or are passionate about:

  • 60% value music. Any boxes that revolve around music or include music related merchandise, such as concert or musical ticket subscriptions, or new music / instrument gadgets may be popular.
  • 60% value ongoing learning / education. Given their younger age, it’s not surprising that this is a little higher on their list.
  • 52% value books.
  • 43% value personal travel, so exploring and experiencing new things is important to them.

Top four trends they follow:

  • 62% follow trends in electronics and technology.
  • 46% follow trends in health and fitness.
  • 44% follow trends in TV and movies.
  • 43% follow trends in music.

It seems potential subscribers enjoy expanding their knowledge and experiencing new things. They also are likely to follow trends and news in a variety of categories, especially when it comes to electronics and technology.

Here are some additional attributes potential subscribers over-index on when compared to the average U.S. adult:

  • Potential subscribers are 56% more likely to primarily watch TV via online streaming.
  • They are 35% more likely to say fashion trends impact what they wear.
  • They are 31% more likely to seek out and try new food.
  • Potential subscribers are 30% more likely to be early adopters.
  • Possible subscribers are 26% more likely to spend more than an hour on social media sites each day.
  • They are 25% more likely to splurge on expensive meals.
  • They are 19% more likely to say their personal financial situation will get better over the next 6 months.

Overall, potential subscribers consume more media online and have a brighter financial outlook than the average adult population. They are early adopters and aren’t afraid to splurge and spend money on themselves. Up-and-coming brands and products will be more appealing to this group and spending ad-dollars on social media sites may convert more potential subscribers to commit to a service.

We can see a common trend playing out among potential subscribers’ behaviors and interests. They value and consume more media and it’s an important part of their life. Experiencing and trying new things and continuously learning are important to them. Since potential subscribers have very similar attributes as current subscribers, box curators could market and advertise to both groups of consumers in a similar manner. It will be interesting to check back in on this topic to see how ownership and potential subscription numbers have changed, but it seems to be a trend that will stick around for the foreseeable future.