Subscription Boxes are Booming


It’s fun to get a package in the mail. There’s the excitement of opening the box and enjoying the contents. If you like getting monthly surprises and treats in the mail, then subscription boxes are just the ticket. And, they can make a fun and unexpected gift for others, too.

There is a wide variety of subscriptions for consumers: Doomsday prepping supplies, treats for dogs, treats for pet rabbits, Japanese snacks, food, meal components, personal care items, razors, make-up, athletic gear, books, technology and more. Think of a category – there is most likely already a company offering monthly treat boxes. Subscriptions range from the low end (Dollar Shave Club, BirchBox) to higher priced subscriptions such as Adidas’ athletic apparel ‘Avenue A’ subscription at $150/quarter. And, there are also subscriptions aimed at business offices as well as individual consumers.

While not all subscription companies earn large revenues, and face many problems with retaining both subscribers and suppliers, some companies are doing quite well. Company BlueApron, a three-year old company that mails recipes and ingredients to subscribers, estimates that it delivers three million meals per month. The company recently raised $135 million in funding, giving it a $2 billion valuation.

That’s a lot of boxes!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who gets monthly subscription boxes, what kind, and why?
  2. Next, bring up several companies that offer these boxes:

Purple Carrot:


Bunny Box:


Blue Apron:

Nature Box:

Club W:

Bark Box:

Faith Box:

Owl Crate:




Loot Crate:

Avenue A:

  1. Discuss the benefits and problems with the subscription model.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team examine one of the current subscriptions and analyze the target market and product mix.
  3. Have each student team design a new subscription company that could be sold to college students.

Source: New York Times, Washington Post, other news sources

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