Stitch Fix's men's rack.

Highlighting the growing appeal of subscription boxes, Stitch Fix customers are handing one-third of their online apparel wallet to the firm, which uses a mix of human and artificial intelligence to guide purchases.

What’s more, Stitch Fix was among the top 10 retailers last year in terms of online apparel wallet share, according to NDP’s online receipt mining service, Checkout Tracking E-commerce. Also on the list was Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe, pointing to rapid gains for subscription boxes in the quickly evolving $217.6 billion U.S. apparel market..

According to the data and survey results, 15 percent of consumers have ordered subscription boxes, while another “14 percent haven’t yet order them but plan to.” Another 35 percent don’t know what the services are.

“Consumers are more critical about the purchases they make today and no longer purchase just for the sake of purchasing,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at The NPD Group Inc. “The personalized approach of subscription services complements the shift toward more prioritized spending.”

Cohen noted that traditional retailers are increasingly facing “unconventional channel competition,” with subscription services the newest player.

There is still a “great deal of room to grow within the subscription model,” and the field will continue to expand as online retailers develop services and options for auto-replenishment of fashion basics, he added.

Although still in its infancy, subscription service memberships, such as at Stitch Fix, Trunk Club and Le Tote, grew to represent nearly 5 percent of online shoppers, and their average annual spend per purchase rose 5 percent to $170, according to the Checkout Tracking E-commerce information. A further drill down on the information showed that Trunk Club subscribers gave 40 percent of their online apparel wallet to the company.

Stitch Fix is a San Francisco-based firm founded by Katrina Lake. The company has a network of stylists who select apparel — average price is $60 an item from more than 200 brands — based on the questionnaire that customers fill out about their style, size, budget, shape and lifestyle.

Nordstrom acquired Trunk Club in 2014. It began by providing men with curated boxes of clothing, and entered the women’s market in 2015. Le Tote, the latest entry in the apparel subscription service, raised $8.8 million in 2015, and took over “social shopping” resale platform Threadflip last year.

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