Research Outline

Barkbox Competitive Landscape


Support a perspective on Barkbox's inability to sustain growth despite its current momentum without traction in new product areas, specifically dental hygiene and entertainment. Entertainment here is defined as something that might be of mutual interest to pets and pet owners.

In order to support this perspective, the report must compare Barkbox to three other companies: the next largest direct competitor in the subscription space (to be identified in the report) as well as larger in-direct competitors Chewy and Petco. Specifically, the report should point out what users of each company likes about them, and what they like least. The report should also show what products/services make them different from each other, what the average basket size/spend is at each company and the demographics of each company's customer base.

Early Findings

  • Barkbox is one of the top subscription boxes in the US, even outside the pet category. According to Clutch in 2019, 17% of people who had used a subscription box in the past six months had ordered from Barkbox- at the same level as Blue Apron and ahead of HelloFresh, SephoraPlay, and others. They had 500,000 subscribers in 2018 and they had a 95% shopper retention rate.
  • All the top subscription boxes (across categories) fall into two of the three categories of subscription boxes identified by McKinsey & Company. Curation makes up most of the boxes (55%), where a company curates and sends a collection of new items every time; and replenishment (32%) where a company sends the same product to replenish stock. Barkbox falls into the Curation category, while companies like Dollar Shave Club (the top subscription box across categories) fall into replenishment. The last category, access (13% of the subscription box market) did not appear in the list of top boxes. This is a clue as to what customers might like about Barkbox.
  • Barkbox's subscription boxes are between $22-$35 a month, but there is no available data as to which package is most popular. Most of their customers are women (80%), and fall into two distinct demographics: 25-35, single without kids, or 45- to 55-year-old empty nesters.
  • Barkbox's top competitor in terms of listed revenue is Pupjoy. It is also the New York Times' top pick for dog-focused subscription boxes. While Barkbox is the largest brand, Pupjoy specializes in allowing for more customized boxes that are truly designed for your individual pet.