Description

This report reveals the latest developments and consumer trends in the US direct-to-consumer (DTC) retailing market. Here you’ll find a full expert review of market performance, competitive strategies, DTC consumer demands and trends, and much more.

Below, we summarize the key topics covered and provide insights from the full document.

Key Topics Covered

  • Consumers’ awareness of and shopping history with DTC brands.
  • What motivates consumers to shop DTC brands.
  • Barriers to purchasing DTC brands.
  • The evolving role of brick-and-mortar and wholesale partnerships in the DTC business model.
  • Consumers’ attitudes toward DTC shopping.

US DTC Market Overview

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands have benefitted from the growth of ecommerce in recent years, but as the industry stabilizes, investments in omnichannel experiences will be important for continued growth. Consumers are also seeking out lower-cost retailers and reducing discretionary purchases, making profits a challenge for brands operating in the DTC space.

Consumer Trends in DTC Retailing – Quickfire Facts

  • 39% of consumers agree that the number of DTC brands is overwhelming.
  • 24% of consumers will be motivated to shop a DTC brand if a friend or family member recommends it or if it has highly rated consumer reviews.
  • As 58% of consumers would be more likely to shop a DTC brand if it had a physical store, DTC brands need to consider the possibility of moving into omnichannel.

In the full report, we reveal the why behind the numbers, and what brands can do about it. See below (What’s Next) for a sample of the analysis you will get. (Consumer research independently gathered by Mintel/partners.)

What’s Next for DTC Retailing

As competition intensifies and the market becomes increasingly crowded, DTC brands are exploring new selling channels such as wholesale and brick-and-mortar to meet consumers where they are. Making these moves does not mean that they are abandoning their digital-native roots, but instead are part of an “always on” omnichannel landscape. Consumers may find it difficult to differentiate between DTC brands and traditional retailers now that the latter are also selling their products directly.

For a complete analysis of consumer trends and opportunities for stakeholders in the US DTC market, buy the full report. Alternatively, browse our ecommerce market research.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) Definition and Brands

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) is a retail strategy where brands sell their products directly to their customers without necessarily leveraging the help of third-party wholesalers or retailers. This is often, but not exclusively, completed online. Examples of DTC brands include – but are not limited to – Allbirds, Bonobos, Casper, Warby Parker, Glossier and Quip as well as traditional brands that also sell using a DTC model, including Nike and Canada Goose.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Infographic and an Excel Databook.

Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis

This report, written by Brittany Steiger, a leading retail and ecommerce analyst, delivers expert analysis to highlight current trends in the US DTC retailing market.

The lines between direct-to-consumer and traditional retailing are becoming even more blurred in an omnichannel landscape where brands must be anywhere and everywhere. What becomes clearer is that direct is just one channel, as DTC brands continue to pivot to wholesale partnerships and physical stores to meet consumers wherever they are.

Brittany Steiger, Senior Analyst - Retail & eCommerce

 

Brittany Steiger
Senior Analyst, Retail & eCommerce

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Consumer trends
    • Today’s omnichannel consumers are eager for DTC brands to evolve past ecommerce
      • Figure 1: Consumer attitudes toward DTC shopping channels, 2023
    • Competitive pricing and a strong overall value proposition are critical
      • Figure 2: TURF Analysis, Purchase motivation, 2023
    • DTC strengths include unique and personalized products, a fun shopping experience and brand ethics
      • Figure 3: Select attitudes toward DTC, by generation, 2023
    • Competitive strategies
    • Glossier goes big on brick-and-mortar with new SoHo flagship
      • Figure 4: Glossier opens new SoHo flagship in NYC
    • Away takes a stance on AI and what it means for travel
      • Figure 5: Away makes a statement about AI and travel
    • Market predictions
      • Figure 6: Total US retail ecommerce sales and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 7: Direct-to-consumer outlook, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Expand into new selling channels
    • Get clear on brand benefits to stand out and create community
    • Lean into core shopper segments, and continue to embrace new ones
    • Find a way to capitalize on retail media networks in a cookie-less future
  3. Market Landscape

    • DTC benefitted from ecommerce growth, but shifts toward traditional channels make sense as market stabilizes
      • Figure 8: Total US retail ecommerce sales and fan chart forecast, at current prices, 2017-27
  4. Market Drivers

    • Cooling inflation brightens confidence, but economic pressures persist
      • Figure 9: Consumer Price Index change from previous period, 2007-23
    • What it means for DTC retailing: cautious spending continues
    • Venture capital is drying up
    • What it means for DTC retailing: mergers, acquisitions and new strategies
      • Figure 10: CAMP appeals to consumers after SVB collapse; Lalo raises funds in a difficult market
    • End of third-party cookies looms
    • What it means for DTC retailing: customer acquisition is more challenging
    • Consumers seek sustainable options amid climate change
    • What it means for DTC retailing: an opportunity to build trust
  5. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Bet on brick-and-mortar
    • Glossier turned its new SoHo flagship into a major event
      • Figure 11: Glossier celebrates grand opening of its SoHo flagship
    • Take a stance on values amid calls for authenticity and ethics
    • DTC travel brand Away takes a stance on AI and what it means for travel
      • Figure 12: Away makes a statement about AI and travel
    • The DTC channel isn’t limited to startups or digitally-native brands
    • Canada Goose sees success with DTC
      • Figure 13: Retail Dive reports on Canada Goose’s DTC success
  6. The DTC Consumer – Fast Facts

  7. DTC Awareness and Shopping History

    • Not all consumers can tell the difference between DTC and traditional brands
      • Figure 14: DTC awareness, by generation, 2023
    • Most consumers have either shopped DTC or are open to doing so
      • Figure 15: DTC shopping history, by generation, 2023
    • Younger consumers, multicultural segments are key demos moving forward
      • Figure 16: Future DTC shopping plans, by generation and race or Hispanic origin, 2023
    • Opportunity: facilitate community
      • Figure 17: Bubble fosters community
  8. DTC Shopping Habits and Behaviors

    • Clothing, beauty and personal care are top categories of interest
      • Figure 18: DTC categories of interest, 2023
    • No category is off limits, leaving opportunity to innovate
      • Figure 19: Prose, Vuori leverage partnerships to expand into new categories
    • Identity and personalization are key to DTC shopping choices
    • Opportunity: cater to consumers based on their lifestyle and interests
      • Figure 20: DTC categories of interest, by key demographics, 2023
      • Figure 21: On caters to runners; Hers offers solutions for postmenopausal hair loss
    • Trial, comparison shopping key to acquisition
      • Figure 22: DTC shopping behaviors – trial and comparison, by key demographics, 2023
    • Digital tools enable personalization and discovery
      • Figure 23: DTC shopping behaviors – personalization and virtual tools, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 24: Fenty Beauty + Skin Experience on Roblox
  9. Motivations to Purchase DTC

    • DTC brands must provide a compelling value proposition
      • Figure 25: Turf analysis – Motivations to purchase DTC, 2023
    • Value, uniqueness and influence matter for both retention and conversion
      • Figure 26: Motivations to purchase DTC, by DTC select shopping history and interest, 2023
    • Identity and personalization key to reaching young and multicultural consumers
      • Figure 27: Motivations to shop DTC – Identity and personalization, by generation and race/Hispanic origin, 2023
  10. Barriers to Purchasing DTC

    • Appeal of traditional retailers a barrier for DTC brands
      • Figure 28: Barriers to shopping with a DTC brand, 2023
    • Strong preferences for physical stores hold consumers back
      • Figure 29: Barriers to shopping with a DTC brand, by DTC shopping history and interest, 2023
    • Targeted versus one-size-fits-all messaging offers more flexibility
    • Leverage convenience and uniqueness to stand out with Gen Z and Millennials
      • Figure 30: Select Barriers to shopping with DTC brands, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 31: Ffern creates demand through exclusivity and limited release
    • Physical stores and targeted products important for converting older consumers
      • Figure 32: Select Barriers to shopping with DTC brands, by generation, 2023
  11. DTC Shopping Methods

    • DTC is becoming increasingly omnichannel
      • Figure 33: DTC shopping methods and behaviors toward DTC in physical stores, 2023
    • Wholesale partnerships and physical stores reach more consumers
      • Figure 34: Behaviors and attitudes toward shopping DTC in-store, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 35: Love Wellness “Summer of Love Wellness” tour celebrates its launch at Walmart
  12. Sources of Information

    • Social media and TV drive awareness of DTC brands
      • Figure 36: Sources of information, 2023
    • Leverage word of mouth and traditional retailers to gain brand awareness
    • Digital media an effective strategy for reaching younger consumers
      • Figure 37: Sources of information – media, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 38: DTC shopping behaviors – social media, by generation, 2023
      • Figure 39: TikTok launches new shopping features
    • Opportunity to create community among multicultural audiences
      • Figure 40: Select sources of information, Race and Hispanic origin, 2023
  13. Attitudes toward DTC

    • DTC brands revolutionized how consumers shop, but the market is saturated with choices
      • Figure 41: Attitudes toward shopping DTC brands, 2023
    • DTC brands have a more unique, premium connotation
      • Figure 42: Attitudes toward DTC shopping experiences, by generation, 2023
    • Opportunity: leverage brand ethics to differentiate
      • Figure 43: Tentree celebrates tree-planting milestone on Earth Day
    • Economic pressures see consumers pull back on DTC purchases
      • Figure 44: Impact of inflation on DTC shopping habits, by household income and age/household income, 2023
    • Opportunity: leverage promotions and discounts during peak seasons
  14. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Sales data
    • Forecast
    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
  15. Appendix – The Market

      • Figure 45: Total US retail eCommerce sales, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 46: Total US retail eCommerce sales, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 47: Total US retail sales and forecast, including eCommerce, at current prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 48: Total US retail sales and forecast, including eCommerce, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2017-27
      • Figure 49: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-23
  16. Appendix – The Consumer

      • Figure 50: Motivations to shop DTC, by DTC shopping history and interest, 2023
      • Figure 51: Select attitudes toward DTC, by Race and Hispanic origin, 2023

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

Market

Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.

Consumer

Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.

Brand/Company

Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

Data

Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our tables of data are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Bell Logo - Mintel client
Boots Logo - Mintel Client
Kelloggs Logo - Mintel client
Samsung Logo - Mintel client
Nike Logo - Mintel client
Walgreens Logo - Mintel client

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us on via phone or fill out a form with your enquiry.

Contact Us