• Retail Dive

Millennials more likely to have a subscription service

Dive Brief:

  • Millennials are more interested in subscription services than any other generation, being 24% more likely to have a meal kit subscription than baby boomers, 35% more likely to have a shave club subscription and 28% more likely to receive a beauty subscription box, according to a survey by data-driven marketing firm Fluent that was emailed to Retail Dive.

  • Those same numbers drop to 16%, 25% and 22% respectively when looked at for the whole of the American public, Fluent found. Despite the relative interest that Fluent found in retail subscription services, magazines and newspapers were still the most popular subscriptions.

  • Fluent’s study consisted of three online surveys in the U.S. during July, each containing 1,314, 1,549 and 1,918 respondents respectively.

Dive Insight:

With the number of subscription services growing among retailers, busy consumers are faced with an ever-increasing list of possibilities that claim to offer convenience. In the midst of that fray, it seems that millennials are the most likely to buy into these services.

That being said, there are plenty of customers across generations who are uninterested in the subscription services that retail has to offer. In the meal-kit space, for example, the biggest reason that customers gave for not signing up was that the kits were too expensive (34%), followed by those who simply don’t want a recurring subscription (32%) and those who say a meal kit won’t work for their family (29%) or that they don’t need cooking instructions (29%).

"Despite struggles with subscriber retention — as with Blue Apron — companies continue to believe that meal-kit subscription services are the future," the report states. "Amazon’s investment in Whole Foods brings hope that they will radically change the game; a necessary step to glean profit from this industry."

Not wanting to receive recurring charges or subscriptions was a popular reason across the board for consumers who said they weren’t interested in subscription services. For shave clubs, men said that they like their current razor (14%), have an electric razor (11%) or don’t want a subscription (11%) — and the results were much the same for beauty box subscriptions. Women who were uninterested in the products didn’t want to sign up for a recurring charge (19%), only buy certain beauty products (18%) or don’t use beauty products at all (15%).

Nevertheless, Fluent believes that if anyone is going to be the saving grace for subscription services — it’s millennials.

"Millennials are prime targets for beauty and grooming subscriptions, as they are aware of and subscribe to such services at higher rates compared to the older population," the report states, adding that retailers will also need to address certain issues to be successful. "Many men and women do not want a recurring subscription; allowing customers to skip months is a great way to help people feel in control and not inundated with products they might not have time to use."

While the future of subscription services is still unclear, many retailers are buying into the hype. With the success of subscription services like Stitch Fix, as well as the attempts of retail giants trying to get into the field — like Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe service and Walmart’s recent interest in buying beauty box subscription service Birchbox — more moves like this could be on the table as retailers look to reach a new customer base or increase their influence with millennials.

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