Rise of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) in CPG eCommerce


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Discover the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) models in consumer goods eCommerce and the benefits they offer for brands and consumers.


In the ever-evolving landscape of consumer goods eCommerce, the direct-to-consumer (D2C) model has emerged as a disruptive force, reshaping traditional retail paradigms and revolutionizing the way brands interact with customers. D2C brands bypass traditional intermediaries such as wholesalers and retailers, selling their products directly to consumers through online channels. This article explores the growing trend of D2C models in consumer goods eCommerce, analyzing the factors driving its rise, the benefits it offers for brands and consumers, and the challenges it poses for traditional retailers.

The Evolution of D2C Models

The concept of selling directly to consumers is not new, but advancements in technology and changing consumer preferences have fueled the rapid growth of D2C models in recent years. According to a report by eMarketer, D2C eCommerce sales in the United States reached $136.1 billion in 2020, representing a 24.3% increase from the previous year. This growth trajectory is expected to continue, with D2C sales projected to reach $259 billion by 2023. The rise of D2C models can be attributed to several key factors, including the proliferation of eCommerce vplatforms, the increasing influence of social media, and shifting consumer expectations for convenience, customization, and transparency.

Key Drivers of the D2C Trend

One of the primary drivers behind the rise of D2C models is the democratization of eCommerce technology. With the advent of user-friendly platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, brands no longer need extensive technical expertise or significant financial resources to launch their own online stores. This has empowered entrepreneurs and small businesses to enter the market and compete with established players, driving innovation and diversity in consumer goods eCommerce.

Additionally, social media has played a pivotal role in the success of D2C brands, providing a powerful platform for marketing, brand building, and customer engagement. Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok allow brands to connect directly with consumers, showcase their products, and cultivate loyal communities of followers. According to a survey by eMarketer, 78% of consumers say that social media posts influence their purchase decisions, highlighting the importance of social media in driving awareness and sales for D2C brands.

Furthermore, changing consumer preferences for personalized and authentic shopping experiences have fueled the demand for D2C brands. Modern consumers value transparency, authenticity, and sustainability, and they are increasingly drawn to brands that align with their values and beliefs. D2C brands have capitalized on this trend by emphasizing transparency in their supply chains, using eco-friendly materials, and engaging in cause-related marketing initiatives. As a result, D2C brands have built strong emotional connections with consumers, driving loyalty and advocacy in the process.

Benefits of D2C Models for Brands

The rise of D2C models offers numerous benefits for consumer goods brands, including greater control over the customer experience, increased brand loyalty, and higher profit margins. By selling directly to consumers, brands can control every aspect of the customer journey, from product discovery to post-purchase support, enabling them to deliver seamless and personalized experiences that resonate with customers. This direct relationship with consumers also provides brands with valuable insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and purchasing patterns, which can inform product development, marketing strategies, and business decisions.

Moreover, D2C models allow brands to build stronger emotional connections with consumers, fostering loyalty and advocacy in the process. By communicating directly with customers through social media, email marketing, and other channels, brands can humanize their brand identity, tell compelling stories, and engage customers on a deeper level. This emotional connection not only drives repeat purchases but also encourages customers to share their experiences with friends and family, amplifying brand awareness and word-of-mouth marketing.

From a financial perspective, D2C models offer the potential for higher profit margins compared to traditional retail channels. By eliminating the middlemen and selling directly to consumers, brands can capture a larger share of the value chain, resulting in higher margins per sale. Additionally, D2C brands have more flexibility in pricing, promotions, and sales strategies, allowing them to maximize revenue and profitability.

Challenges and Considerations of D2C

While D2C models offer numerous benefits for consumer goods brands, they also pose challenges and considerations that brands must navigate to succeed in the competitive eCommerce landscape. One of the primary challenges is the need for brands to build and scale their own infrastructure for logistics, fulfillment, and customer support. Unlike traditional retail channels, where these functions are often handled by third-party providers, D2C brands are responsible for managing every aspect of the supply chain, from warehousing and shipping to returns processing and customer service. This requires significant investment in technology, personnel, and operations, as well as careful planning and execution to ensure efficiency and reliability.

Moreover, D2C brands face intense competition in the crowded eCommerce marketplace, making it challenging to stand out and attract customers. With thousands of brands vying for consumers’ attention and wallets, D2C brands must differentiate themselves through unique value propositions, compelling branding, and innovative marketing strategies. This requires a deep understanding of the target audience, as well as continuous experimentation and optimization to identify what resonates with customers and drives conversions.

Additionally, D2C brands must address consumer concerns around product quality, authenticity, and trust, particularly in industries such as beauty, health, and wellness where safety and efficacy are paramount. Building trust and credibility with consumers requires transparent communication, third-party certifications, and social proof such as customer reviews and testimonials. D2C brands must also prioritize data privacy and security to protect customer information and comply with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).


In conclusion, the rise of D2C models represents a significant shift in consumer goods eCommerce, offering brands new opportunities to connect with customers, build relationships, and drive growth. By bypassing traditional intermediaries and selling directly to consumers, D2C brands can control every aspect of the customer experience, from product development to post-purchase support, enabling them to deliver seamless and personalized experiences that resonate with modern consumers. However, success in the D2C space requires careful planning, execution, and differentiation to stand out in a crowded marketplace and build lasting relationships with customers. As consumer preferences and market dynamics continue to evolve, D2C brands must remain agile, adaptable, and customer-centric to thrive in the competitive eCommerce landscape.

author avatar
Alan Yong CEO / Founder
Alan Yong is a distinguished eCommerce expert with an impressive career spanning over 30 years, primarily focusing on the consumer goods sector across multiple global markets, including the two largest consumer markets, China and the United States. With a deep expertise in multi-channel eCommerce, big data & analytics, performance marketing, and consumer-based supply chain and logistics, Alan has held pivotal roles as CEO and Global General Manager for multinational consumer packaged goods companies, driving significant digital transformations and eCommerce success.