The State Of The Subscription Economy, 2018

Excerpts from the article by Louis Columbus on

The State Of The Subscription Economy, 2018

  • The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% percent a year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generating more than $2.6B in sales in 2016, up from $57.0M in 2011.
  • E-commerce subscribers are most likely to be 25 to 44 years old, to have incomes from $50,000 to $100,000, and live in urban environments in the Northeastern U.S.
  • 15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes.
  • Amazon Subscribe & Save, Dollar Shave Club, Ipsy, Blue Apron and Birchbox are the five most popular subscription sites in 2018.

These and many other insights are from an in-depth survey McKinsey & Company completed to better understand the dynamics of the subscription e-commerce market and its major trends. The results of the survey, Thinking inside the subscription box: New research on e-commerce consumers are a fascinating glimpse into the current state of the subscription economy. McKinsey’s research team interviewed 5,093 U.S.-based respondents, 4,057 of which were online shoppers who had spent at least $25 online in the past month. For additional details on the methodology, please see the study here. A PDF of the study is available here (9 pp., registration on site required).

Key takeaways from the study include the following:

  • 15% of online shoppers have subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year, with 46% of respondents subscribed to an online streaming-media service including NetFlix. Subscription-box services that deliver products regularly include Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, Ipsy and Stitch Fix. Subscription-based media includes Amazon Prime Video, ClassPass, Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, and others.

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