Unboxing Surprise: An Investigation of Surprise and the Consumers of Curated Subscription Boxes

Open Access
Wahl, Kathryn Elyse
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Honors Advisor
  • Karen Page Winterich, Faculty Reader
  • Marketing
  • Subscription Boxes
  • Subscription Services
  • Stitch Fix
  • Surprise
Curated subscription box companies are a new e-commerce shopping industry in which there is a large element of surprise for consumers. Despite companies having existed for nearly a decade, little research has been done on the curated subscription box consumers and how the element of surprise affects them. This study analyzed consumers of the personalized styling subscription box Stitch Fix and how surprise and the emotions surrounding it create different segments of consumers. The research was conducted through one-on-one interviews and a content analysis of unboxing videos. It was concluded that there are three segments of consumers of curated subscription boxes: the surprise averse consumer, the surprise seeking consumer, and the surprise welcoming consumer. Additionally, recommendations were provided so that marketers can better target consumers through these three segments.