As we found, consumers are shopping online more since the pandemic and say they’re now more likely to buy direct from a brand. But the majority of our respondents still expect better shopping experiences — there’s still work to be done to please DTC store visitors.
The majority of Americans say they're shopping online more now than prior to March 2020:
While more than two in five Americans think they provide the same experience, a very close 37% actually prefer the shopping experience of major online retailers over buying direct from brands.
Ultimately, while some shoppers aren't noticing a difference, there are aspects of the major retailer experience that are somehow more satisfying for a large percentage of online shoppers. DTC brands need to invest in sites that rival these experiences.
We also found that over half (54%) of American consumers say they’d shop directly with brands more often if they provided a better experience.
What exactly goes into a “better” experience? Well, we also saw that 54% of Americans say that encountering slow load times when shopping directly from a brand’s website or app makes them not want to shop there anymore.
Out of the Americans who say they are shopping online more since the pandemic began, 56% are purchasing clothing most often, followed by food/groceries (45%), and cleaning/household products (38%).
We found men are more likely than women to purchase athletic/gym/workout equipment and hobby equipment online (32% of men vs. 20% of women), while women are more likely to purchase cosmetics and personal care products (40% of women vs. 25% of men).
Not only are some items getting purchased online more often, there's also overlap in terms of items shoppers now prefer to purchase from a brand directly.
Over one-third (36%) of consumers now prefer to purchase clothing directly from brands’ websites rather than from major online retailers, followed by athletic/gym/workout equipment (22%), and food/groceries (19%). Notably, across product types, younger generations are more likely to purchase directly from brands’ websites rather than from major retailers (compared to older generations).
These popular ecommerce verticals will want to strike while the iron’s hot and pay close attention to their DTC buyer experience at this time.
Interestingly, men’s online shopping habits have changed more than women’s due to the pandemic, with men saying they are more likely to purchase items directly from a brand’s own site or app now:
32% of men say they are more likely to purchase items directly from a brand’s own website/app now than they were pre-pandemic, compared to 24% of women.
65% of women say that the likelihood of purchasing items directly from a brand’s own website/app now is about the same as pre-pandemic, compared to 55% of men.
Our takeaway? Direct-to-consumer brands should take advantage of the increased attention from men right now, while also recognizing the opportunity to win women over.
As we discovered, this generation are now the most likely to purchase items directly from a brand’s own website or app (36%) compared to other generations. Older generations reported that their likelihood is about the same as pre-pandemic. With this in mind, targeting millennial men could be the sweet spot for direct-to-consumer brands right now.
Our survey found brands especially need to up their online experience if they want to attract Gen Z. Younger generations across all platform types (mobile app and desktop) are more likely to state that an online shopping experience doesn’t meet their expectations.
21% of Gen Z state that major online retailers' mobile apps rarely or never meet their expectations, followed by millennials (13%), Gen X (6%), and boomers (5%).
A quarter (26%) of Americans are expecting to turn to DTC more often:
What’s more, 42% plan to keep most of their shopping online — an encouraging stat for direct-to-consumer stores investing in exceptional experiences.
And finally, now's the time to start improving your site to meet expectations. Over half (56%) of Americans say that post-pandemic, they will expect better online shopping experiences from brands.
Overall, with the increase in shoppers buying direct, especially men and millennials, and many expecting better experience once the pandemic’s over, DTCs need a game plan for both the near and long term.