- Direct-to-consumer brands may be the apple of venture capitalists' eyes but maybe not for all consumers. Just a little over half of Americans (nearly six in 10) have purchased from a DTC brand at least once this past year, according to Diffusion's 2022 Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Intent Index.
- In a survey of 1,185 U.S. adults, 65% of respondents intend to purchase from a DTC brand at least once in 2022, a drop from 79% the year before.
- Having free and speedy delivery is key if DTC brands want to win consumers' spending dollars from traditional retailers. Fast and free shipping was cited by 40% of survey respondents as a reason why they would choose a traditional retailer over DTC.
Results from the report indicate that winning the love of American consumers is tough for DTC brands, especially when they're competing against traditional retailers.
During the busiest shopping season of the year in 2021, 43% did not plan to shop at a DTC brand. When asked why they aren't shopping at DTC brands, 23% said they could get better prices and sales from traditional retailers, and 21% said they could find similar products at traditional retailers at a more agreeable cost.
For those that do shop at digitally native brands, 23% said they offer higher quality products, and 18% said DTC brands offer better customer service and experience.
Physical convenience and accessibility play a big part, with 32% of consumers citing this as a top reason why they prefer to buy traditional over DTC. Even digitally native brands recognize this. In recent years, DTC brands have increasingly partnered with retailers with large store footprints like Target and Walmart.
Teaming up with retail giants also partially alleviates the hefty cost of marketing goods online — an ordeal that has only gotten pricier and more challenging over the years.
Some consumers, it seems, aren't easily swayed by modern marketing tactics from DTC brands, with 62% saying influencer marketing won't work on them. In fact, 25% of U.S. adults said seeing an influencer post about a product from a DTC brand makes them less likely to buy it. Just 13% said seeing an influencer post about a DTC brand would push them to make a purchase.