The subscription economy is booming, and it’s not just streaming services and grocery delivery that Americans are choosing to automate. A new study by location intelligence company Blis found that men in particular are eager to have an online retailer ship them shoes on a regular basis.
The 1,200-person survey, titled “Omnichannel Consumers Treading New Paths to Purchase,” looked at how today’s consumers shop across mobile web, mobile apps, desktop and in-store. Among the growing trends it revealed was an interest in subscription boxes, a finding echoed by a survey published earlier this week by First Insight, a merchandising technology company. In that study, 31% of U.S. millennials said they currently subscribed to at least one subscription box, versus 21% of Generation X and and 8% of baby boomers.
Millennials were also the most likely to prefer automated shopping in Blis’ study, with 26% of respondents between 25 and 34 saying they would like to receive auto-shipments of shoes from an online retailer, compared with 18% of respondents overall. The same trend was reflected in other categories, including clothing basics like socks and underwear (32% of younger shoppers versus 22% overall) and household basics (51% versus 41%).
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Women were less likely than men to want clothing and shoes delivered through a subscription, however. More than a third of men (35%) said they would like shoes delivered automatically on a regular basis, compared with 25% of women.
“Automated shopping is an increasing trend among a large segment of the population who are looking to retailers to maximize convenience and minimize friction in their shopping experiences,” said Gil Larsen, VP of the Americas at Blis. “Retailers need to be taking this lesson to heart across all their channels, exploring the data around consumer purchases and lifestyles, and seeking ways to build out automated processes both online and in-store.”
A few shoe brands have experimented with the subscription model: Adidas offered a subscription box called Avenue A from 2016 to 2017, while Under Armour has its no-fee ArmourBox, which delivers workout gear to subscribers every 30, 60 or 90 days. The personal styling platform Stitch Fix offers shoes for men, women and kids (and recurring shipments are optional), and Nike backs a kid’s sneaker subscription box called EasyKicks.