I pay attention to consumer behavior. This is important when I’m helping myself or a client. I wanted to get a sense of what’s going on with the everyday consumer. I dove in, looking for strong signals in consumer shopping trends over the last year or so. Here’s what stood out to me.

Make it Personal

The demand for personalized shopping is HUGE. 75% of the surveyed respondents said they are more likely to buy from retailers that address them by name. Or, that recommend products based on their past purchases. DTC brands must use data. They should use it to craft personalized product suggestions and marketing messages. Also, to create dynamic cart experiences. If you’re not already doing this, start. It is an easy first step to improve conversions without a heavy lift.

Video is a Must-Have

Video and social media greatly affect product discovery and buying decisions. In fact, 73% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product if they first watched a video of it. Content on Facebook influenced another 53% of buyers. Take a look at how reMarkable uses content to help before and after a sale.

DTC brands need to invest. They need to create engaging video and build a strong social media presence. These will drive both awareness and sales. Don’t forget to lead with great hooks!

Intentional Purchasing > Less Impulse Buying

Consumers are moving away from impulse buying. There was a whopping 32% surge in conversion rates versus a 29% downturn in clicks last year (2023). People are investing more time in researching products. In other words, they’re spending more time in the consideration phase. Brands need to provide more information about products. Help your customer inform their decision with content that answers their key questions. Product reviews are great for adding trust. Customer testimonials and user-generated content are perfect for adding credibility. The product type determines what tools to consider. You can also consider comparisons, demos, and free trials.

Lower the friction for consumers to make a thoughtful purchase. Easy, friendly return policies are great. They lower the risk of creating buyers’ remorse.

Increasing Preference for Subscription Models

I was surprised to read this stat about subscription services. 52% of consumers already get two to five products delivered by subscription. At first, I was thinking about box subscriptions. They provide an assortment of clothing or beauty products each month. But, I’m excited to see that this is more related to the concept of replenishment. For example, if I need face moisturizer or deodorant every 3 months, why not just automate buying and delivery.

Screenshot of Harry's website showing their Subscribe and Save subscription offer for customers.
Harry’s Subscribe & Save offer

It’s great for customers because it provides convenience and savings. For DTC brands, it’s awesome because it adds a predictable revenue stream. If you have a product that will need replenishment, you should make subscription options. Beauty, wellness, and pet products are great categories for regular replenishment. This has an added benefit. It increases long-term customer relationships. It also boosts customer lifetime value (LTV).

Desktop is Dead, Mobile Takes the Lead

Consumers do 70% of online shopping through mobile phones. Almost half (48%) of shoppers start their mobile exploration through a search engine. And, a third (33%) of shoppers are going directly to their intended site. Your efforts should be mobile-first!

Your site should be mobile-friendly. It should have great responsiveness and load fast. Even for non-technical founders and marketers, making navigation easier is a win. Small, useful changes make the experience easier. They go a long way to winning customers.

#SOSEO is Alive and Real

Social media is now a main way to discover products. This is especially true for younger people. In one stat, about 33% of consumers found a new product through social media. They found them primarily on TikTok and Instagram. This number is likely much higher in 2024. Brands should make the most of social media to launch new products. However, make sure to balance it with attention-grabbing and value-adding content. Partnerships with influencers can help reach new audiences. They can also get your products out there faster.

@pennytovar influencers always exaggerating saying everything is their favorite smh just give a normal review girl #empties #emptiesreview #crueltyfree #beautyhaul #crueltyfreebeauty ♬ original sound – Penny Tovar RN, BSN

This is a perfect example of an authentic and fun product review. It’s great inspiration for influencer partnerships and UGC content. Another must, don’t forget to integrate the shopping. Shoppable posts and easy in-app purchase add-ons make the experience quick and seamless. When it’s time to checkout, it should be a breeze.

Move fast, break things

Statistics are always old. It’s important to pay attention to what’s happening around you and in your business. Small data can be powerful too. These trends have been building up over time. If you haven’t started addressing this new (and old) reality, it’s time to start. Meet your customers on mobile. Deliver engaging and helpful content. If you can automate their purchase with a subscription, do it. Gather great data on your customers so you can personalize the experience. Learn, test, and don’t be afraid to break things along the way.