The market for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands has been growing rapidly in recent years. And while much has been written about the brands themselves there has been less information about the key attributes of the consumers buying these products and what entices them to buy.
And there are key differences between DTC consumers and the average shopper that brands should be aware of, according to new research by the IAB UK.
Indeed, DTC shoppers are more likely than the general population to influence the buying choices of others. This is because they tend to share information about their purchases and are especially likely to advise friends on what to buy.
As part of the research, the IAB looked to identify the UK’s leading DTC brands, with names including HelloFresh, Eve, Heist and Made.com making the cut.
The report is based on the views of 2,000 online consumers, with the vast majority (97%) aware of at least one of the top 50 brands. More than a third (39%) have bought one of their products, with the research suggesting DTC brands are becoming more mainstream too, with 10% having purchased from five or more.
Although DTC customers tend to be younger and more affluent those interested in these brands do cut across all demographics, with 9% of DTC customers aged over 65.
In order to determine the key characteristics of DTC shoppers, the IAB has compared the behaviour of heavy DTC shoppers (those who have bought from five of the top 50 DTC brands) to the general population.
For example, three quarters of those considered heavy DTC consumers (74%) say people often come to them for advice when buying new things, compared to 29% of online shoppers generally.
Meanwhile, 80% of heavy DTC purchasers say if they find a brand they love they will tell everyone about it, next to 52% of the UK population generally.
Heavy DTC shoppers are also early adopters, always on the look out for brands that are doing new and interesting things (77% versus 42%) and buy new products before most of their friends (78% versus 27%).
Not only are these consumers influencing other people’s purchases they are also more likely to spend big themselves on the brands they trust. Three-quarters (75%) of heavy DTC consumers say they are likely to buy a product from a brand they trust without even looking at the price. By contrast, just 29% of online shoppers say the same.
Heavy DTC shoppers also have high expectations, value quality and favour ethical products, with 86% saying ethical brands are important, versus the 43% of the general population.
When it comes to media habits, there are also differences between DTC shoppers and the average population. They spend less time watching live TV, for example, instead favouring video-on-demand services, and they are more likely to get news from social media and newspaper websites.