How Lockdown has Helped Subscription Businesses Flourish

March 24, 2021
Photo by Brandable Box on Unsplash

The rise in online subscription businesses boxes

Subscription businesses have boomed during lockdown. Whether it is people seeking regular entertainment, fresh produce, or little luxuries, these businesses are some of those who have benefited from the pandemic. In fact, Forbes has noticed a 40% increase in subscription box businesses year-on-year for the last 4 years.

Food-related subscription services have been some of the most successful including gourmet coffee, wines, and fresh vegetables. Those subscriptions concerning wellness, beauty, or self-care have also experienced a surge.

Online subscriptions are certainly not new, since Graze, owned by Amazon has been dominant for years and the Economist has always pushed their magazine subscriptions heavily online. But the fun, more bespoke, creative, or food-related subscription boxes have certainly surged and this has overlapped into other specialties such as meal kits and brunch boxes.

Subscription businesses

Pre-existing subscription companies, already set up logistically to cater for the high demand of lockdown orders, have been able to branch out experimenting with new products, flavours, and services.

During Christmas, one of the most popular reasons for subscription businesses was for gifting. Especially if families and friends were unable to share the festive season together. The idea of sending a three-month subscription of coffee, tea, or wine was appealing. An example from I Love Gin is a 3-month gin subscription for just £42 (at £14 per month) and includes 4-drinks per serving each month.

Working from home

Working from home has meant that many employees are missing the comforts of the office. Whether that is regular coffee or tea or their favourite biscuits, snacks, and drinks subscription boxes have flourished as remote working has become a necessity for the majority of workers.

Sending a subscription box was often a nice benefit or incentive sent from employers to their staff to raise spirits, or even jump on a group Zoom call to share a drink or meal.

Keeping busy

With the home and workspace now interchangeable people have been desperately looking to change up the monotony of lockdown. As such, subscription services offering activities have really benefited from this pent-up need to keep busy. Subscription boxes offering baking, crafts, books, and gardening have experienced an increase in demand as people have unleashed their inner creativity to liven up a lockdown night.


With a record number of Brits on government employment schemes and unable to work, the nation’s financial situation is far from desirable. That being said, many have viewed this new time as a gift. Typically bogged down with daily responsibilities, many are unable to focus on their passion projects. With time off from work, those with an entrepreneurial spirit have had the chance to launch new businesses and seek gaps in the market.

Creation of new subscription businesses

As well as being a window of opportunity for the unemployed, many have found that more time at home has meant the chance to turn hobbies into lucrative side-hustles. Be it setting up an Etsy account to sell art-work, designing an app, selling home-baked goods, or mapping out a viable business plan, many have been able to maximise their time at home. This is especially true for subscription businesses.

The barriers to entry can be somewhat, assuming that you do not have a lot of stock. But setting up with an Instagram account or basic Shopify, Wix, or WordPress site has certainly helped people get their subscription businesses off the ground.

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