How to Capitalize on the $10B+ Subscription Box Industry
It’s no secret that the past decade has sent companies flocking toward the subscription model. And who can blame them: that sweet recurring revenue and the promise of a $1B exit (a la Dollar Shave Club) is compelling. But it’s not too late to launch a subscription box — you just have to know what market to enter.
In this piece we:
- Explain how the subscription box was born and assess market growth
- Break down challenges with making subscription boxes work in specific categories
- Analyze hundreds of subscription boxes on Crunchbase and which categories are saturated
- Give over a dozen examples of niche boxes doing between thousands to millions per month, from cellphone-sized books to Brazilian jiu-jitsu
- Share a roadmap for assessing and entering the $10B+ market
History of the Subscription Box Industry
Early attempts at the subscription box began in 2004, with The Sampler — a box that partitioned out goods from different indie crafters. The Sampler no longer exists, but it wasn’t until many years later that subscription boxes really started to take off. Some notable boxes leading the charge included:
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Don’t press snooze on this opportunity: sleep supplements
The signal: As meditation becomes mainstream, people may be surprised to find that searches for sleep apps double their meditation counterpart. As people invest in getting a better night’s rest, there’s opportunity abound, including physical products like weighted blankets or premium PJs, supplements, popular insomnia drugs having their patents expire, companies paying their employees to sleep better, marketing for sleep specialists, or online sleep education (ex: sleep apnea test has 27k searches per month).
The alternative milk market is getting frothy
The signal: As more people wave goodbye to dairy, alternative milk is slowly taking over; it has already cornered 13% of the market. With the exception of soy milk, all of the alt-milks have been on the up, with some of the newer entrants including hemp milk and pea milk. Other alt-products are getting attention, including cashew cheese, with 18100 searches per month.
Capitalizing on the Airpods market, making more money than Shopify
The signal: Since killing the headphone jack, Apple has graced the world with AirPods, which did an estimated 60m units in 2019. That means AirPods alone are bringing in approx ~$10b in revenue, more than Twitter, Shopify, or Spotify, to name a few popular tech giants. Opportunity lies in Apple opening up SiriOS or the wave of iPhone accessories (including cases, cleaning kits, hooks, and keychains) which have shown “hockey stick” growth alongside their hardware predecessor.
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