Consumers opting for apparel subscription services

Apparel consumers are subscribing to a new way of shopping and apparel subscription services like Stitch Fix, Trunk Club and Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe are examples of the new shopping channel in the evolving $217.6 billion US apparel market, says a recent report. Subscription services are an up-and-coming opportunity, particularly in the fashion industry.

The apparel market’s evolution is evidenced by the fact that both Amazon and the apparel subscription service, Stitch Fix, were among the top 10 retailers last year in terms of online apparel wallet share, according to the NPD Group’s online receipt mining service, Checkout TrackingSM E-commerce.

In a recent survey, consumers told NPD about their interactions with and awareness of subscription box services. While only 15 per cent of consumers have ordered subscription boxes, another 14 per cent have not yet ordered them but plan to, and 35 per cent do not even know what these services are.

The subscription method of shopping for apparel is still in its infancy, but its consumer reach is expanding. Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and Le Tote subscription membership grew to nearly 5 per cent of online shoppers, and their average annual spend per purchase increased 5 per cent to $170, according to NPD’s Checkout Tracking E-commerce information. The Stitch Fix subscriber gave one-third of their online apparel wallet to Stitch Fix. Trunk Club subscribers gave 40 per cent of their online apparel wallet to Trunk Club.

“We have entered a new world of retail where the traditional leaders are faced with unconventional channel competition, and subscription services are the newest player,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “Consumers are more critical about the purchases they make today and no longer purchase just for the sake of purchasing. The personalised approach of subscription services complements the shift toward more prioritised spending.”

“There is a great deal of room to grow within the subscription model, and the competitive field will continue to expand as online retailers develop subscription services and options for auto-replenishment of fashion basics,” added Cohen. “This kind of innovation, delivering personalisation and convenience, will continue to change the face of retail for fashion.”

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