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Survey: UK brands expect pandemic to fuel five-year D2C sales surge

By Huw Hughes

20 Sep 2021

Retail

Image: Pexels by Andrea Piacquadio

UK brands selling online expect a five-year surge in direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales after the pandemic caused many to invest in their own sales channels, according to new research.

A survey by multichannel commerce platform ChannelAdvisor and research firm CensusWide of 304 chief marketing officers from UK brands selling online found the majority expect D2C to drive at least 20 percent of their sales in the next five years.

When asked what proportion of sales they expect to be generated through D2C channels in that time period, nearly half (46 percent) said 21 percent to 30 percent, 17 percent said 31 percent to 40 percent, and 16 percent said 41 percent to 50 percent.

It comes as the past 18 months have forced many companies to switch up their strategies and invest more in their own sales channels, with 47 percent of respondents saying their brand is selling more products through their own channels compared to before the pandemic.

And 97 percent said their D2C channels have become a higher priority for their brand since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, with more than a third (34 percent) saying it has become a significantly high priority.

Nearly half (47 percent) said their brand is selling more products through their own channels, such as their website or online marketplaces, while 48 percent said they are selling more through retailers.

Just 6 percent said they are selling roughly the same portion of products between retailers and their own channels than before the Covid-19 crisis.

Ninety percent of respondents believe their brand is now in a stronger negotiating position with retailers than before the pandemic, with 27 percent saying they are in a significantly stronger position.

And CMOs are expecting other benefits from their D2C channels in the coming 12 months, with 47 percent citing more control over how their brand is generally portrayed online, 42 percent citing added control over how their brand’s product details are described, and 43 citing the valuable first-party data that D2C will offer their brand.