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Box It Up – The Rise of Subscription Commerce

Subscription based ecommerce businesses (“subcom” for short) are on the rise. In a typical situation, a subcom business will send their customers (“the subscribers”) a box full of products on a regular basis. Very often these businesses try to attract customers with specific needs. For example, a subcom appealing to new mothers may send their subscribers a box of baby care items each month.

Is subscription commerce here to stay or is it a passing fad? Does it really address a meaningful need? In this graphic, we’re going to briefly look at some of the current players in the subcom industry—how they’re growing and how the market is divvied up. Special thanks to Sean Percival.

Click on the image below to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

The Rise of Subscription Commerce

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  1. How long does it take to create such infographic?

  2. Every infographic is different. Sometimes they take months. There is a lot of iteration involved. Occasionally, inspiration can come in the middle of the night and be hammered out in a few days…

  3. I’ve never heard of subcom before. I’ll have to check it out. It seems like it’s a business model that won’t last forever, just like groupons.

    • Michael Martine Sep 09, 2011 at 10:53 am

      The model has been around forever. Tape and CD clubs back in the day. Book clubs, beer clubs, whatever-of-the-month clubs. You name it.

    • There are a lot of things people consume consistently and can use an expert to help them make better choices. That’s what we’re trying to do at Why do you think it won’t last forever?

  4. Nice infographic on Subcom. Well designed. Sean, yes, putting an infographic together is a lot of work. I think there is a company that is about to implement templates that you can just fill your data in… Not sure about the name though.

  5. Sean, I’d love to read some more analysis of the info graphic. Any additional thoughts?

    I’m not sure why SubCom would be analogous to Groupon, as another poster suggested (except if simply comparing them as fads). What does KISSmetrics think about it?

    Is there a difference between the “new” SubCom and what a few companies have successfully offered since before e-commerce (e.g., Gevalia Coffee, Harry & David’s “Fruit of the Month” club etc.)?

    • If you want more analysis of the graphic, read the blog post of the guy who created it, Sean Percival:

  6. Philip Dawkins Apr 11, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    What are the metrics based on? E.g do you subscriber numbers for each one?


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