You can find tons of companies offering you the next best tech subscription box.
But which one is right for you or the tech fan on your gift list? That's what I set out to determine. Tech subscription box ads and reviews have become more and more common lately. On top of that, several folks I know began talking about the collections that arrive in their mail each month. So I decided to start looking into the new trend a while back.
You will notice there are options for any taste. Practically any hobby or interest you can think of has a corresponding box. And every time you receive a new one, you will find a treasure trove of related contents. Some are more expensive than others. Reviews make it clear that there are a few that a definitely worth the money. Others, maybe not so much. But a lot of that depends on your personal preferences.
Our list includes boxes that provide a different take on the tech subscription box trend. With new options launching all the time, it might be hard to keep up. But there are a few that stood out as I was doing my homework.
What makes the tech subscription box craze so unique?
There's no denying the explosive growth within this unique sector of the retail market. Between 2014 and 2017, the number of monthly visitors to subscription company sites skyrocketed, increasing by more than 800 percent by April 2017, with a total of 37 million monthly visitors.
If you're still not sure exactly what I'm talking about, it's really pretty simple. You pay a company a preset rate for a regular delivery of packages. Beyond that, the options run the gamut. Whether you love comics or you're still stuck in the '80s, there's a tech subscription box for you.
The Element of Surprise
In reality, these companies are just repackaging existing products. But the fees associated with the subscription not only covers the cost of the items and shipping. From the best among them, you'll be getting expertly selected gifts each month. These people really have a passion for what they're packaging -- and it shows.
Even if you think you know all there is to know about your passion, prepare to be surprised. By not knowing what you get each time you open a tech subscription box, it's a guaranteed surprise. And if you want a little bit of that birthday party feeling from when you were a kid, here's a great option.
Who's most likely to buy?
The short answer: Anybody. With an experience customized to almost anyone's general tastes, everybody is bound to find an interesting option. But scratching the surface a bit, statistics do show some interesting details. As it turns out, there are some segments of society more open to the idea.
For the subscription model in general, companies have identified several groups. Don't get me wrong, marketing covers pretty much the entire population. But these folks are likely to see a bit more intense marketing. They're also slightly more likely to sign up for a tech subscription box. See where you fit in to the target market:
- Gender: Female
- Education: College degree
- Household income: Higher than $100,000
- Family: Children between 3 and 5 years old
- Political affiliation: Liberal
Why do customers keep coming back?
Tech subscription box companies have a monthly incentive to ensure they're sending out good stuff. With customers able to cancel at any time, they won't stand for low quality. So there's a reason you see certain names show up in your friends' social media feed. Any upstart can promise a cool box, but the ones on this list have a track record of delivering it, too.
Some companies are geared toward convenience -- subscription razor delivery, for instance, is geared toward this market. Others are based on whimsy or nostalgia. And many offer a monthly surprise. Let's face it, that's a lot of fun no matter how old you get! So do some exploring, ask your friends, and find some boxes that make you smile.
Things to Consider Before Subscribing:
With a product as prone to customization as the tech subscription box, please do your research. Though the concept is fairly straightforward, what's inside these boxes will vary greatly. I've identified a few key things to consider below.
Some of the boxes start below 20 bucks. Several are significantly more expensive. But as the old adage goes, you generally get what you pay for. I don't mean that cheaper boxes should be avoided. In fact, some of the best companies have inexpensive options. However, just don't expect the quantity or rarity of some of their more costly cousins.
Here's where it gets easy to weed out some contenders. As I mentioned above, there are some great options at lower price points. But please beware. Some customers have complained that they have felt cheated by some boxes. Whether complaints about the actual contents or the customer service, quality is an issue. But the good news is there are plenty of companies with great reputations. My advice is to stick with these companies. Even still, if you're intent on trying a riskier option, please start with a short term subscription.
The terms of the subscriptions vary by company. Some allow you to choose up front how long you'd like to receive your tech subscription box. Others are more open ended. It really depends on what you're looking for here. The main thing is to make sure you read the terms closely. This, plus checking reviews from actual shoppers, helps you protect yourself. Once you're comfortable with the terms, you can sit back and wait for the boxes to arrive!
The stuff inside
Of course this is what it's all about, right? If you don't like what's inside, then there's no reason to subscribe. Well, this is such a personal factor, I can't really weigh in. The only thing I'll offer is that there truly is something for every taste. So think about what you're passionate about, and find a tech subscription box to match.
Our Favorite Tech Subscription Boxes:
Now that you know the best practices and policies for choosing your subscription, it's time for the fun part! Consider trying a tech subscription box from the following companies:
1. Loot Crate
It didn't take Loot Crate long to become a leader in the burgeoning subscription industry. As an innovator, this company is really the standard bearer on a number of levels. For one, it has had time to diversify. It now offers a wide array of specialized boxes in addition to its original crate. It has subscriptions starting as low as $14.99 -- shipping included! And subscriptions can be as short as one month long, so feel free to get your feet wet. With a track record as solid as Loot Crate, this is a solid option for those new to the game.
2. Trunk Club by Nordstrom
Here's a box that proves you get what you pay for. It's by Nordstrom, so you know it's geared toward luxury. But unlike any other tech subscription box, this one contains items you will actually use. Nothing is more practical than stylish clothes on a regular basis. And these guys get a thorough idea of your tastes during the subscription process. You'll get wardrobe staples in each box, with items ranging in price from $25 to more than $200. You just keep what you like and send back the rest for free. It's available for men and women.
3. My Geek Box
Like the name says, these boxes are brimming with treasures for fans of geek culture. The term 'geek' doesn't carry the same negative connotation it used to and now, a huge group of folks embrace the label. Many of them rush to unpack a tech subscription box like this each month. You can usually find an online voucher for some cash off your first delivery (they're taking a bet that you'll be back). Most customers do return month after month. Choose the length of subscription that works for you -- the longer your commitment, the cheaper each box becomes.
4. Brick Loot
This is a fun option for you or the Lego lover in your life. The back story of this cool tech subscription box sets it apart, too. Its creator, Parker Krex, was just 9 years old when he had the bright idea. He asked his parents for a subscription box based on his own interests. What he got, however, was underwhelming. He had already been collecting Legos for years and was disappointed with his box. So he wrote up his own business plan and, four years later, here we are! Sign up and get between four and eight Lego related items. Each box is hand selected by fellow Lego enthusiasts for top quality bricks.
5. Vinyl Moon
If you love experimenting with your music, here's a great option. Each month, curators create a great mix of rising artists. There are options for fans of all types of music. Plus, each record comes on a beautiful vinyl album, along with that is a uniquely crafted jacket and other one of a kind artwork. Get a fresh album for as low as $23 with a year long subscription. Or just give a one month subscription a shot to see if it is for you.
6. Esian Mall
This is the tech subscription box for folks who have a thing for Asian pop culture or snacks. You can choose one option with lots of cool snacks in each box. The other has a unique T shirt and other interesting surprises. You already know if this box is for you. And if it is, you're probably already checking out the details. Subscriptions start at $14.95 a month.
Did you find the tech subscription box that works for you?
We hope you found this primer helpful in your quest. If you didn't find exactly what you were looking for, don't worry. There are tons of other options out there. But I think these cover several of the more popular genres.
If you have some people in your life who might enjoy a regular surprise, please share this list. Are you already subscribing to a box? Let us know your favorites in the comments section below.
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