Topic Research

Subject/topic research: Feminist subscription box

In the past few years, subscription boxes have exploded in popularity. According to a study by Hitwise, there are 5.7 million subscription box shoppers in the US today. Currently, most boxes are aimed at women (a fuller breakdown will come later) and there are some boxes that use feminism as a selling point such as the Backup Box. However, none exist that combine two of the largest and most popular categories, food and lifestyle. This is where the Femininity box will stand apart, and combine two markets.

Historic

Historically, most subscription services were limited to magazines, newspapers, and “of the month” clubs. One such club was the Columbia Record Club, and it is one the closest services that can be found similar to the modern day phenomenon. The club started in the 1950s but by 1996 had reached to 16 million members. In more recent times Birchbox set the stage for the subscription boom. Founded in 2010, this monthly beauty box ended their first year with 45,000 members. Since then they continue to dominate the market with steady growth and a loyal base. The two markets Femininity are targeting are the lifestyle and food groups. The most popular food subscription service is Blue Apron, which delivers all the ingredients needed for a curated meal once a week. The promise to the customers is fresh ingredients, easy recipes individualized for each customer, and it’s all sustainable collected. The most popular lifestyle box is fabfitfun. Four times a year members receive curated boxes filled with anything from Nike jackets, umbrellas, to makeup pallets.

Competitor

As stated previously there is no subscription box that combines food and lifestyle, two of the most popular categories in the market. However, there is currently one other box that markets itself as feminist. This is the Back up Box a monthly box bills itself as the “perfect combination of fun and mindfulness.” The box includes anything from stickers, fancy chocolate, to notepads. To tie it into feminism each box includes a notecard highlight a powerful woman from history. This historical figure is not tied to the contents of the box and serves no real purpose other than to tie the subscription to feminist issues loosely. Other minor competitors would be subscriptions like Cozy Book Club which sends a book and other surprise items each month, TeaBox which sends samples of looseleaf tea to customers, and even fabfitfun.

Audience

According to the same Hitwise study referenced earlier, the average subscription shopper is college educated, liberal leaning in politics, female, has a household income of over $100 thousand, and has 3-5 children. According to an INC. article, the average age of these women is 41 years old. For the Femininity box, we will be targeting this same group.

Visual vocabulary

Most subscription boxes rely heavily on text in their branding, fabfitfun for example only uses text and has no logo. Others, such as Blue Apron have a logo, but it is second to their name in terms of the visual hierarchy. This heavy reliance on typography stems from the fact that many subscription boxes, including the popular Birchbox, change the design of their box each month. These changes can reflect the content of the box, the changing of the season, and some change just to add to the surprise element each box contains. Below are images from popular boxes: Fair Trade Friday, The Cozy Readers Club, Backup Box, and Birchbox.

Education

As stated previously, the demographic for subscription box shoppers indicates that the majority of subscription shoppers have at least received an undergraduate degree.

Geopolitical

Today in the US people are incredibly divided about politics, the two parties are at each others throats and the population feels more polarized than ever. However, despite this feeling the US is considered a stable and growing market.

Media perception

Subscription services rely heavily on their media presence to market their product. As they have no brick-and-mortar locations, they must aggressively market their service to come in contact with potential customers. However, you won’t find subscription services advertising through traditional media, such as television and newspapers. Instead, they rely entirely on the marketing that can be done on Social Media.

Social media presence/trending

Subscription services are a product that is able to exist only because of the rise of social media. These companies promote their product through Facebook advertisements, Instagram posts, and relationships with influencers. Birchbox, the most popular subscription service on the market, uses these means to connect to customers with incredible success. By aggressively advertising through social media subscription services have grown with impressive speed.

Focus groups and market testing and market targeting

Unfortunately, any available focus group information is hidden behind a pay wall. However, the information above covers all of the same bases that a focus group would have covered.

Works cited
“Beauty Box Subscription for Women.” Birchbox United States, www.birchbox.com/discover.
Fair Trade Friday, fairtradefriday.club/.

DesMarais, Christina. “Here’s How Much People Like Their Subscription Boxes (Infographic).” Inc.com, Inc., www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/heres-data-showing-the-crazy-growth-of-subscription-box-services-infographic.html.

“FabFitFun: Discover products for a life well lived!” FabFitFun VIP, fabfitfun.com/get-the-box/?step=getbox#plan=fffvip.

Causebox. “Get the Box That Changes Lives.” CAUSEBOX™ | Better Products for a Better World, causebox.com/.
“Home.” Home, cozyreader.club/.

Kestenbaum, Richard. “Subscription Businesses Are Exploding With Growth.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 Aug. 2017, www.forbes.com/sites/richardkestenbaum/2017/08/10/subscription-businesses-are-exploding-with-growth/#3ee720f16678.

“Teabox US: Buy Delicious Indian Tea Online.” Teabox, www.teabox.com/.

Velez, Angela. “This Feminist Subscription Box Is the Monthly Splurge You Deserve.” Brit Co, Brit Co, 24 June 2017, www.brit.co/this-feminist-subscription-box-backup/.