Jan 5, 2018
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Birchbox has record year in UK, Facebook link, pop-up and Black Friday were key

Jan 5, 2018

2017 was a record year for Birchbox in the UK with the US-based subscription beauty service shipping 1.5 million beauty boxes to British customers over the 12 months. The company said Friday that it saw a 63% subscriber increase last year to reach 150,000.


Its online store, where consumers can buy the full-size versions of the smaller products they get in their monthly boxes, saw an even bigger sales rise of 84% last year and full-size products now account for 35% of total turnover.

The company said its growth in the UK has been driven by a focus on targeting “a customer that has traditionally, and still is, under-served by the existing beauty industry - therefore making beauty more accessible and shoppable for the average woman.”

And it’s personalisation that is crucial. The information new subscribers fill in when first signing up allows it to offer more tailored products (and content) each month. And while any company likes to claim that its offer is better than those of its rivals, it’s undeniable that the firm’s growth in just a year has been impressive.


That growth last year was also helped by the additional tips and tricks offered by the firm across its social and digital channels relating to the products it send out. “By personalising content and products, Birchbox [is] able to reach a customer who has not been excited or passionate about the beauty industry before,” it claims. 

It also says its data shows that within six months of subscribing, customers double their incremental spend in the beauty category as a whole.

And a 2017 survey found that 22% of customers buying Benefit products in Boots, first discovered the brand via Birchbox.

The company’s growth in the UK last year was additionally helped by it being the first beauty retailer to use Facebook React software in order to reach new customers. With 75% of Birchbox traffic coming from mobile and 65% of customers searching and shopping via mobile web, introducing the React software helped it improve speed and filtering options.

Birchbox UK marketing chief Janis Thomas said the close relationship with Facebook has been key to our marketing success” and the company saw “massive growth” on Instagram in 2017, “to the point that it has become our second biggest channel for subscription acquisition.”


The company also sees partnerships, both with the brands it sells and media groups, as key to its ongoing growth. Last year that included its November subscriber box curated by Vogue’s beauty team based on the #Vogue100 Beauty Hall Of Fame.

Its opening on a Carnaby Street pop-up in London last year was seen as a major win too and was followed by a “marked rise in direct search and organic demand” to the UK website.

And its Black Friday activity seemed to score strongly with the firm saying it saw ‘record sales’ over the Black Friday weekend and self-subscription sales 93% higher than in 2016. 

The company is upbeat for this year with a series of improvements to its service planned “to make sure we take personalisation to the next level.”

Birchbox is currently available in six countries, the US, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, and Ireland, and has standalones in New York and Paris plus that London pop-up store.

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