A mystery box is like a monthly Christmas gift – but to yourself.
Riding on the heels of the group buy phenomenon of 2010, subscription boxes have become extremely popular for many a toy collector, hobbyist, cosmetic junkie, food lover, wine enthusiast and even craft addicts. If you have a niche interest, chances are there’s a subscription box service out there to match your passion! With just a quick internet search, you can find a subscription box service which will deliver to your doorstep, tailored to your preferences.
Subscription boxes are based on based on convenience or mystery:
In this time-strapped market full of overworked, weary and unmotivated people, convenience boxes are ever-popular as a means of receiving repeat purchases on a scheduled basis. For example, a busy mother may receive a weekly grocery order and a pet owner may get dog food and treats.
A mystery box is like a monthly Christmas gift – but to yourself. It helps subscribers discover samples and new products whose exact nature is a secret until unboxing. In its most successful form, the box combines items of a high perceived value with other curated products that deliver a surprise and leave the subscriber anticipating the next delivery.
The subscription model is not new – and it was first popularized circa 1972 when Columbia House and the Wine of the Month Club first started. However, the most recent trend is credited to a startup called Birch Box. In 2010, Birch Box founders filled their monthly boxes with beauty samples and in only six short years, they are recognized as the most popular subscription box service to date.
One of the largest categories for mystery subscription boxes are toy/geek boxes. In the US, one of the largest toy/geek boxes ships out more than 500,000 boxes every month. In Asia, there are only a few toy subscription box services and Hong Kong based Lootaku caters to the premium gamer and toy collector market. Alvin Wong, founder of Lootaku explains his company name as a play on the words "loot" and "otaku". Loot refers to all the items and goodies inside, and otaku usually refers to a person that is overly obsessed with something, usually in the areas of anime and manga.
Lootaku’s subscription box is almost four times the size of the average subscription box and they carefully curate items to include full size figures and statues that most other boxes cannot. In August 2016, they will celebrate their 1-year anniversary and consistent demand from satisfied Lootakus to continue shipping. According to Wong, curators of a box need to be extremely passionate about every item inside. He believes if his team doesn’t love each hand-picked toy or figure, neither will his subscribers. The subscription box philosophy can be summed up by this quote from the Lootaku website: "We're just shopping for toys for ourselves every month, and hoping you can tag along for the ride."