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Trend Opportunity Profiles: Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Business Model

  • Report
  • 61 Pages
  • September 2021
  • Region: Global
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • ID: 5457010

In 2020, 59% of customers preferred to shop online. Customers emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic expect seamless digital shopping experiences and direct interaction with brands. In fact, customers are more willing to switch to brands that offer complete transparency and accountability.

In the post-pandemic retail era defined by ease of access and personalization, direct-to-consumer (D2C) is emerging as a business model that offers end-to-end customer service without the need for traditional intermediaries. The eCommerce boom and the increasing demand for digital shopping experiences are driving the growth of digital-native brands and the shift to digital business models. In fact, social commerce and influencer marketing are emerging as two key factors contributing to successful customer outreach and retention.

Looking ahead, the deployment of emerging technologies, such as AR/VR, data analytics, chatbots, and blockchain, will drastically improve online customer experience and improve supply chain transparency. A strong data-driven strategy will emerge as the key solution to understanding customer behavior and offering a holistic customer experiences. Technologies will mature, become less expensive, and make it easy for new participants to penetrate the market and offer better customer experience. To create differentiation, brands will need to influence customer habits and find new ways to promote and sell their products.

This study explores the evolving customer journey across a wide range of online and offline D2C models, key drivers influencing growth, challenges that lie ahead, and major technologies that will drive innovation in this space. The convergence of transformational Mega Trends and disruptive technologies emerging from the new retail shift will result in new growth opportunities in this space, including social marketing and commerce integration, software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms for supply chain management, and vertical integration to improve profit margins.


  • What are the key factors or indicators driving the direct-to-consumer (D2C) market?
  • What are the current unmet needs and challenges faced by D2C companies?
  • What is the scope for innovation and commercial advantage in this space over the next decade?
  • What are the key growth opportunities to watch out for in the next decade?
  • What best practices can companies seeking to enter this space learn from incumbent participants?

Table of Contents

1. Strategic Imperative
Why is Growth Becoming Increasingly Difficult to Achieve?
The Strategic Imperative 8™
Our Mega Trend Universe
Growth Opportunities Fuel the Growth Pipeline Engine™

2. Executive Dashboard
Our Mega Trend Universe - Direct-to-consumer Business Model
Key Findings
Growth Opportunities Critical to Future Success

3. Trend Opportunity Analysis
Trend Opportunity Overview
Direct-to-Consumer Sales Strategy
Direct-to-Consumer Model and Traditional Models
Direct-to-Consumer and Traditional Models
Direct-to-Consumer - Compressing Value Chains
Trend Opportunity - Regional Exposure
Trend Opportunity - Industry Implications
Trend Opportunity - Direct-to-Consumer Penetration by Industry and Region
Key Trend Opportunity Levers
Trend Opportunity - KPI Analysis
Trend Opportunity Attractiveness Analysis
Case Study - Selling Through Own Physical Stores
Case Study - Selling Through Pop-up Stores
Case Study - Selling Through Marketplace
Case Study - Selling Through Own Online Platform
Case Study - Selling Through Social Media
Case Study - Selling Through Subscription Model
Case Study - Selling Through Personalized Programs
Case Study - Selling Through Own Online Stores
Trend Opportunity - Technologies Used by D2C Brands
Trend Opportunity - Top 5 Challenges on the Horizon
Trend Opportunity Impact and Certainty Analysis
Trend Opportunity Matrix - Trend Innovation Index
Innovation Attractiveness Score
Trend Opportunity Matrix - Trend Growth Index
Growth Attractiveness Score
Trends Beets Implications

4. Growth Opportunity Universe
Growth Opportunity 1 - Social Marketing and Commerce Integration for Improved Customer Engagement
Growth Opportunity 2 - Leveraging SaaS Platform for Supply Chain Management
Growth Opportunity 3 - Vertical Integration for Higher Profit Margins
Critical Success Factors for Growth
The Way Forward

5. Next Steps
Identifying Your Company’s Growth Zone
Your Next Steps
About the Growth Pipeline Engine™

6. Appendix
Our Mega Trend Universe
List of Exhibits
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