At first blush, the top direct-to-consumer brands in the second quarter appear to have little in common. There’s a maker of high-end sandals and a sustainable paint supply brand as well as a children’s apparel brand famed for its stuffed animals that convert into hoodies.
But, according to SimilarWeb’s analysis of the traffic and search data, the top brands succeed by being well aligned with the needs of their customers, offering seasonally appropriate products and tapping into key trends, such as DIY.
SimilarWeb’s top 25 d-t-c brands include apparel label Draper James, founded by Reese Witherspoon, Millennial parent-favorite Cubcoats and men’s shorts and pants brand Birddogs, which offers products with built-in-underwear.
“Coronavirus continues to be a driving force in smaller brands’ ability to grow at the expense of established brands, but it is not the sole reason,” said Jamie Drayton, lead financial services and e-commerce consultant at SimilarWeb, in his report. “To continue growing, d-t-c brands need to consider a wide range of variables, from developing personalized offerings to adopting a social justice stance, and more.”
Drayton said the “one-size-fits-all” approach is no longer “fit for purpose — brands need to adapt to personalized customer needs and social trends in order to connect with shoppers and increase sales.”
Leading the list in the second-quarter report was “environmentally friendly” furniture brand Outer, which has gained popularity for its outdoor cushion covers. Drayton said the brand’s site, Liveouter.com “tops our list with 53,000 average monthly visits and a massive 659 percent quarter-over-quarter growth.”
“Outer was able to capitalize on the seasonal popularity of outdoor and patio furniture sets, which are typically sold in the summer months,” Drayton said. “While traffic to this brand has increased across marketing channels…dramatic growth can only be achieved when trending interest is coupled with search spending.”
In the second quarter, Outer garnered most of its site’s traffic from paid search — 39 percent in the period versus 11 percent in the first quarter. “Top trending paid keywords demonstrate that Outer’s digital strategy targets long-tail SEO keywords that its specific audience was searching for, such as outdoor furniture for small spaces and patio furniture with built-in footrest,” Drayton added.
SimilarWeb noted in the report that Cubcoats, number two in the quarter, saw its traffic increase by 337 percent, quarter to quarter, “thanks to a very quick and successful shift to manufacturing and marketing stylish kids’ masks.” The report found the site’s marketing efforts “included a heavy investment in paid acquisition which resulted in a massive [quarter-to-quarter] uptick in referrals (from 1 percent to 25 percent), display ads (from 11 percent to 18 percent), and direct traffic (from 27 percent to 35 percent).”
Taking the number-three spot was casual footwear-maker Hari Mari, with urban hipster bike-maker Priority Bicycles coming in fourth.
In the number-five position was plant-based skin care brand Youth To The People, which SimilarWeb described as a brand that “epitomizes the importance of having a commitment to social justice.”
The site saw its traffic swell 212 percent in the quarter from 58,000 to 180,000. Drayton said the beauty site’s growth in the first quarter “was spurred by an improved social and organic search strategy.”
“In Q2, the growth of these channels was coupled with a heavy investment in paid search and an expanding base of repeat purchases, an indication of customers’ interest in brands showing support for social justice causes,” he noted. “For example, ‘youth to the people pride’ paid searches increased by 286 percent in June as the company invested in highlighting their values and messaging to consumers.”
SimilarWeb’s Top 25 D-t-c Brands (second quarter)