What is a Subscription Box? Subscription Boxes Explained

Intrigue, anticipation, elation, excitement and surprise are all part of the thrill of getting a subscription box delivered to your door. 

The arrival of a subscription box is a special occasion, just like receiving and unwrapping gifts on your birthday.

You know there’s something inside just for you that’s been wrapped by someone that cares about you and wants to make sure you enjoy every moment of opening and indulging in the products inside.

What are subscription boxes?

There are two main types of subscription boxes. The first is a convenient and often cheaper way to get regular deliveries of essential items which you usually replenish on a monthly basis, such as food ingredients and body care products from your favourite brands. 

The other reason we sign up for subscription boxes is to treat ourselves or a friend to a beautifully wrapped selection of bespoke, hand-picked products. 

As well as receiving a regular supply of rare products that you love, getting subscription boxes adds spice and adventure to your online shopping sprees as you discover new treasures and treats from far away places.

What comes in a subscription box?

You get a themed selection of goodies put together just for you, plus a surprise item or two. Your box could contain anything from a selection of chocolates and truffles to a collection of natural beauty care products infused with essential oils – unique products that you simply won’t find on supermarket shelves. 

How do subscription boxes work?

You subscribe to have an assortment of products boxed up and sent to you on a regular basis from categories including food and drink, beauty, pet supplies, arts and crafts, DIY and so on. 

Most boxes are sent out every month for as long as your subscription lasts, which is usually anywhere between three and 12 months. Of course you can order one box at a time if you like, which is wise for your first order so you can try out the products before committing to a longer subscription. 

The gimmicks that make subscription boxes attractive are that you can personalise your box and get surprise items with each delivery. The combined cost of the items is often cheaper than buying them individually and you usually get discounts for longer subscriptions.

Free delivery is usually part of the subscription service, if you are using a service in your country. 

Manage your subscription boxes with a single account

At TheBoxHut we offer free delivery to subscribers in the UK. You only need one account to manage and buy as many subscription boxes as you like. 

When you see a subscription box that tickles your fancy, register your free account and choose whether to pay monthly or every 3, 6 or 12 months. You’ll also get email updates when new subscription boxes are added to the network. 

Save money with longer subscriptions 

You can buy subscription boxes just like you do with any other product you buy online as a one-off purchase. The added attraction with most subscription boxes is that box suppliers often offer you a discount when you pay for more than a month at a time. 

Subscription boxes blossom as a good vibe business

We love buying subscription boxes for a bunch of feel-good reasons… 

It’s like the good old days when you’d go to a local specialist store stocking unique products, where the shop owner knows you by name, and knows what you like – giving you the kind of personal service that you can only find in a family-run store.

When we buy a subscription box we also know we are doing our bit to support home-grown startups run by real people with a shared passion that fosters a more personal customer relationship.

Brits are big spenders online

Online shoppers in the US have been buying subscription boxes for years, gradually procuring a cyber cottage industry into a 20% chunk of the country’s entire online retail sales.

Albeit a little late to the party, Brits have now embraced subscription boxes as a fun new way to shop online, making the UK subscription box market grow exponentially over the past few years.

Buying trend analyst Becky Postlethwaite says the subscription box industry grew by 30% in 2017 alone. Her data analysis saw spikes in subscription box sales on Black Friday, Cyber Week and in the run-up to Christmas; generating about 4.5 million visits to subscription box services.

Brits do 87% of their shopping online

The subscription box trend is growing with the increased confidence and convenience we’ve come to enjoy when shopping online. 

Excluding grocery shopping, online shoppers in the United Kingdom make more than 87% of their retail purchases online, spending an average of 39 euros at a time, which is an increase of about 10% year-on-year since 2017, according to a recent report by Ecommerce News Europe.

Britain boasts £1bn subscription box market

More than 27% of British consumers are signed up to a subscription box service, either for themselves or on behalf of somebody else. Most of them are aged 25 to 34 but more than 11% of them are aged between 55 and 64. 

The Royal Mail forecasts that the subscription box market in the UK is set to grow by a staggering 72% by 2022, almost doubling in size to £1bn.

What are the most popular subscription boxes?

Special food and meal kits are by far the most popular subscription boxes. They are a convenient and economical way to enjoy exotic regional food made from fresh ingredients that are hard to find locally, making up 37% of the UK’s subscription box market.

What’s on the menu – Venezuelan, Thai, Vegan?

Suppose you wanted to impress your friends with a spicy Thai curry. Unless you have your own tropical herb garden or a shop nearby stocking all the ingredients you need such as fresh lemongrass, fish sauce, green chili paste and coconut milk, you’ll have a hard time pulling it off. 

With a recipe subscription box you don’t have to shop around for all the different ingredients. Better still, you don’t even have to know what the ingredients are. Everything you need in a meal kit subscription box is neatly packaged in the right proportions so that you can cook up an exquisite meal like a michelin-star masterchef.

Meal kit subscription boxes are also very popular with vegans seeking something new and exciting to add to their meat-free diet. 

No matter how you slice it and dice it, meat substitutes like tofu and quorn quickly lose their appeal. Having another creative vegan put together a subscription box is a great way to spice up an otherwise bland vegetarian menu.

Men love subscription boxes too!

Beauty boxes and male grooming are the most popular subscription boxes among British buyers. Razors and shaving kits are the second biggest subscription box seller, comprising 30% of the market, closely followed by perfume and cosmetics aimed at women (about 26%).

Subscription boxes for kids and hobbyists

The growing popularity of subscription boxes means more variety as subscription box suppliers compete to come up with new and innovative niche products and packages. Arts and crafts supplies, books and other collectibles are all part of the subscription box market.

Essentially, whatever your niche, there’s a subscription box just right for you. And if you can’t find one that fits your needs, maybe it’s time to think about putting together your own subscription box and selling it online through a subscription box supplier?  

3 good reasons to buy subscription boxes

A surprise just for you or a special friend

The best reason to buy subscription boxes is knowing you’ll get something you really like, plus a special surprise from a supplier that goes the extra mile to give you something personal and wrap it like a gift from a friend that really cares. 

That personal touch with just-for-you products and brands makes subscription boxes an ideal designer gift for someone else as well.  

Cheap and convenient

Paying for several products to be boxed up especially for you often works out a lot cheaper than buying the products as individual items. It’s also a lot more convenient and much less time-consuming than going from shop to shop to buy each item, whether shopping online or in brick-and-mortar stores.   

Discover novelty products

You can be one of the first to try new, bespoke products that haven’t or won’t ever make it into regular stores. Subscription box suppliers are always hunting down new products to include to keep their customers anticipating the next delivery. 

As a subscriber to the Crime Chronicle Book Box, for example, you get a collectible signed first edition hardback book to treasure with each month’s delivery of gripping reading material.

How much is a subscription box?

Subscription boxes at TheBoxHut range from under £10 to just over £40 for monthly subscription boxes uk, where you can usually get a better deal by subscribing for three or more months at a time. 

Here are some of the most popular boxes on offer in the low, medium and high price range:

Treats from our tea curators

You can buy a month’s supply of Tea-Turtle’s ethically sourced tea in a variety of exotic flavours for two cups a day at £9.99. Each month is a new taste experience and it’s an eco-friendly way to buy tea, too, with their plastic-free packaging.

Tea Turtle Box

Deceptively Healthy Truffle Brownies

On a diet and struggling to keep yourself motivated?

Ordering a monthly supply of healthy chocolate treats is a good way to reward yourself for good behaviour. Get a 6- or 12-month supply of organic Gourmet Gianduja Truffle Brownies and you’ll save money as well as calories. 

For a one-off delivery of six freshly baked brownies topped with creamy hazelnut gianduja ganache pay £22.95. Buy a six month supply and you save yourself the cost of an entire month’s supply. Subscribe for a year and you’ll save £50 on your chocolate truffle indulgence.

Truffle selection

Selected fine wines from afar

Get the 3 Bottle Monthly Wine Subscription from Savage Vines for £44.95 a month with monthly payments or save almost £5 on your order when you buy a 3-month subscription. Get a 6-month subscription and save nearly £10 or get a 12-month subscription and save almost £40.

How to buy a subscription box

Buying a subscription box is easy. 

Browse through our box list and click on the images to see more details about the box, including monthly subscription options and prices, as well reviews from other customers. 

Set up your subscription for one month, three months or six months at a time and pay with your debit or credit card. 

Subscription boxes are delivered free of charge to anywhere in the UK. 
Once you’ve placed your order you’ll receive a confirmation email and a tracking number so you can track progress of your delivery, which usually takes 3-5 working days. There are no up front or hidden costs when you buy a subscription box with TheBoxHut.

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A subscription marketplace that makes it easy to browse, buy and manage subscription boxes.
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