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Beauty subscription ecommerce: Asia’s next big startup trend?


It is well known that women are among the most voracious and influential online groups. They’re online more often, and they are avid purchasers. In Asia, that’s especially true with women, where female web users are making, in every country, more than 60% of their online purchases on fashion. That’s right, fashion dominates online spending for women.

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With stats like these, it’s no wonder that fashion e-commerce in general is taking off. Another specific new niche, beauty subscription e-commerce, is peeking over the horizon.

Currently, we’re seeing beauty subscription ecommerce sites emerging from South Korea, where Memebox, which has just over 100 000 users, has generated up to $2 million in revenue. And those guys are headed to Thailand next. In other news, Singapore’s VanityTrove has acquired Vietnam’s Glamybox and Taiwan’s Glossybox. In Indonesia, Lolabox and BeautyTreats are battling it out with new entrant VanityTrove. In China, there’s MyLuxBox with over 10 000 paying subscribers. In other words, beauty subscription is a huge regional trend, chasing after female e-shoppers.

Although we’re only seeing this in the early stages, with each startup only clocking in users in the tens of thousands, it’s clear that investors and entrepreneurs are keen on this being a solid trend. With revenues like what Memebox has posted and a similar business model across the board, beauty subcom here to stay.

Why does it work

Clearly, this is an indication of the strength of the female online community. But ultimately, it shows the power of the subcom model. Users pay a monthly or annual fee to get surprised by beauty products.

The startup gets paid upfront — plus some kickback from make-up and skincare brands — and can cut costs for customers while adding value in the form of product discovery. Is it foreseeable that we’ll see this model applied to other areas of e-commerce as well? There’s already hints of it with toys and candy. Currently general e-commerce is getting quite boring, and unique e-commerce models are exactly what the market needs for differentiation.

This article by Anh-Minh Do originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.

Image: KaurJmeb (via Wikimedia Commons).

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