Pros and Cons of Subscription Box (2020) – Recommendation

Are you considering subscribing to a box that you see a lot on the internet?

Or perhaps you heard it from someone else, and you are curious to start your first subscription box.

You might still be unsure about your decision or worry that you are too rushed, don’t worry! 

Here we will provide 6 pros and 4 cons of using subscription box service as well as some recommendations for the users, we hope that you can get something out of this article and help with your decision! If you think you are lack of knowledges on subscription box, be sure to check this out: What is a Subscription Box? (2020) Beginner’s Guide.

Table of Contents


Convenience and time saving

There is no doubt that subscription box service is more convenient and time-saving in this fast-moving society. 

If you are busy at work, studying, or having trouble managing your time properly, subscription box might be the solution for you.

After the initial set up and subscribed to a specific plan, a box will be shipped to your door routinely.

The company picks the right products for you (well… at least they did try very hard to pick the product that best suits you), instead of you go to a brick-and-motor store and spend hours of time just to figure out what to buy.

High value at lower cost

Some of the boxes offered by the companies contain products that cost more than the price you pay for the box.

You might be wondering why and worry about the quality of the product, as the subscription price for the box is cheaper.
This is due to the fact that the company orders products in bulk, which they can negotiate with the manufacturer for a much lower cost than retail price.


One of the features that subscription box offer and outperform traditional retail is their customization.
Many of them, especially the food, beverage, beauty, and clothing boxes, can be incredibly flexible when it comes to customization.

Different options are provided to suit the user’s best preference, here are 3 examples to give you a general understanding of how customization works.

Subscription Box Customisation e.g. table
Subscription Box Customisation e.g.


Now you see, companies try to be user-friendly by taking different aspects of consumer’s needs to satisfy them with a controllable and customized box.

New experience

Getting daily consumptions from a box is surprisingly satisfying for those who shop in the traditional way and who occasionally shop online!

Just imagine it, having to receive weekly, monthly, and quarterly boxes that replace regular routines of shopping, it is almost like there is someone taking care of you, no more rushing to stores and worrying about time.


One thing that makes subscription box attractive and charming is that you never know what exactly is in the box!

Yes, that may seem contradictory to the “customization” part. 

Boxes customization is just a guide and direction for the company to provide you with something not too off the expectation.

B. F. Skinner, American psychologist’s studies shows that the brain can release dopamine and cortisol when humans are facing uncertainties and unknown, which perfectly explains why people will be excited about opening a subscription box!

No lock-in plan

It is understandable that many people have experienced being trapped in an annual contract and fears that the subscription box company is another tricky business that tries to lock you in with their plans again.

The great news is, ALMOST ALL subscription box services can be canceled at any time! No extra fees or hustle for cancelation, pause, renewal, or switch plans.

However, we do recommend you to read through the terms and conditions in the related section, every company might differ. 



As mentioned before, subscription box comes with uncertainties, sometimes it can be surprising, and some other times it can be disappointing.

There are chances that you will see something in the box that you don’t like, since, in some cases, you don’t know what you will get exactly.

It might be the customized plan that you have chosen isn’t right for you, or it could also be the luck.

Unfortunately, subscription box companies don’t accept replace or refund if you just simply don’t like it, which will be clear on their terms and conditions.

However, you can always send an email to tell them what you don’t like, and they will be more than happy to avoid putting the same or similar things into your box.

Low values for you

If you would like to compare the cost of goods in the box to your local store or supermarket, you may find it might be more expensive to subscribe to the boxes, since companies need to take into account for their marketing, packaging and operation expenses for their price.

It depends on how you value the products and service, if you are very price-sensitive, subscription box may not provide sufficient value for you.

Not surprising 

Sometimes the expectation can be too high, after all the research you have done, completed your initial set up and receive your first box.

You may find the products inside the box are nothing special than ordinary products you can get anywhere.

People can easily misunderstand the concept and get overexcited about it.

Products inside the box are never special. It is the shopping experience, lifestyle, and receiving daily consumption in a subscription-style.

Excessive products 

The amount and size of the products can be predicted, but your activities can’t always be predicted!

Let’s say you subscribed to weekly food boxes, and there might be some weeks you eat out a lot or just don’t feel like cooking, the ingredients will be accumulated in your fridge, and you eventually will still need to cook them all, or trash them all.

Or if you have subscribed to a monthly beauty box, and there are some mornings, you just want to be lazy and not put on your makeup or full makeup. Your desk will soon be full of eyeshadows or eyeliners samples.

In addition, not every product in the box is what you need. If the box comes in with 5 products inside, and you might only need 4 of them.

They only come in with a certain amount of products that you have chosen, and the price stays the same if you ask them to remove a product you don’t need.

(But it’s always good to be generous and share with your friends and families!)

Recommendations of who should give it a go?

After we explained the pros and cons of subscription box service, it is clear that what people are more likely to subscribed to the box:

  • Discovery spirit
  • Willing to adopt new thing, 
  • Ready to embrace the uncertainty
  • Want to have a different lifestyle
  • Time management issue
  • OCD (having a hard time to pick when multiple options are given)

These were just some ideas to show you what characteristic of a person is more likely to subscribe to the service, everyone is a unique individual.

Do not take these as a standard or stop you from subscribing to the box and listening to yourself. It is possible that none of the characteristics above apply to you, but you just want to experience something new in your life!

By having a different lifestyle does not mean that you need to replace your shopping activities as much as possible to get to the point where you can really have a different lifestyle!

There are a lot of existing subscription box users with food boxes and still go to the supermarket; users with clothing boxes and still go shopping on the weekend, having to subscribe to a box does not conflict with your life activities of what you can or cannot do, again, everyone is a unique individual.


In conclusion, this article has described the pros and cons of subscription box in 2020, and clarified for those who are still having concerns on their decision to step into the world of subscription box.

The biggest pros for most people might be the experience and personalization, this is a completely new way to fulfill household necessities and personal needs.

And the biggest cons or downside that might stop people from renewing their subscription might be if their products are not “personalized” enough, or cannot precisely satisfy customer’s needs, then they will see no or low value to continue the subscription.

However, you can always try it out! Since there is no lock-in contract for most of the companies, it doesn’t hurt your wallet that much for one or two subscriptions, you can always cancel if you find the boxes are not meeting your standard or fulfilling your needs.

Do you agree with any of the pros and cons? Or do you have anything that we haven’t mentioned above? Please leave us a comment below, we’re looking forward to hear from you!

We hope you enjoyed the contents and found it helpful, if you do, you are more than welcome to share it with your friends!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *