Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands—encompassing everything from startups like Billie offering women's razor subscriptions to Casper, the once online-only mattress company that has products now being sold at Target—have been growing in popularity for a variety of reasons.
Often these products speak to convenience, others woo with lower costs than big brands, some appeal to consumers who care about ethical consumption and transparent supply chains and many derive appeal from being well-designed with clever ad campaigns.
An August 2018 survey by Diffusion and YouGov sought to uncover consumer attitudes around D2C brands. Regarding future purchase intent, 81% of US internet users said they would buy at least one item from a D2C brand in the next five years. More specifically, 36% said they would make 1% to 19% of their purchases from D2C brands in the next five years.
Convenience was the leading motivator; 27% perceived buying D2C brands as easier than going to a traditional store. This idea was more common among older consumers; 26% of those ages 56 and older cited convenience as a factor compared with 17% of millennials.
Where D2C brands fell short was personalization and customer service. Just 11% of US internet users thought these brands offered more personalization or buying assistance than traditional ones, 9% thought D2Cs provided better customer service and 7% of respondents said the returns process was easier.
Only 6% bought D2C brands for the auto-replenishment features, despite that being a common selling point, especially for consumer packaged goods (CPGs). This might not seem unique since retailers like Amazon and Target offer subscribe and save programs too.