Back to Basics: Diffusion’s 2022 Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Intent Index



Is 2021 over yet? From supply chain disasters to a seemingly never-ending line of coronavirus variants, DTC brands are ending the year feeling far from out of the woods.

While traditional retailers with brick-and-mortar locations have been challenged over the past couple years due to the rise of DTC in an industry facing a global pandemic, DTC brands haven’t had the easiest ride either. Between the increased competition and the ever-changing consumer landscape, brands with clear strategies for growth have been handed new challenges and increased pressure to expand and innovate faster than they could have ever planned for.

Since 2018, Diffusion has published an annual report on the state of consumer purchase intent as it relates to traditional retail and rising DTC brands. Our 2022 DTC Industry Index explores how leaders in the DTC landscape are feeling going into next year, trends and challenges they’ve faced, and what the future of DTC looks like as we look ahead into a post-pandemic world.

Key themes from this year’s DTC Industry Index include:

Going back to the basics: free shipping is a thing again

Amid the growing supply chain issues and the continued convergence of omnichannel offerings and traditional retailers, the lines between DTC and long-standing, traditional retail brands continue to be blurred. So the question remains: What do consumers actually care about?

Believe it or not, free shipping. In fact, 40% of Americans agree that fast, free shipping is key when it comes to a traditional retail brand winning a customer’s purchase over a DTC company. Consumers in the pandemic seem to be going back to the basics, noting free shipping, convenience, and in-stock products as the top three actions a traditional retail brand can take to win a purchase over a competitive DTC brand.

Ho ho No for DTC this holiday season

Shopping DTC isn’t for everyone this holiday season. Nearly half (43%) of Americans said they do not plan to shop DTC for this year’s holiday gifts. This isn’t surprising given issues such as increased pricing, longer ship times, and lack of supply due to the worsening supply chain slowdown are trending across the retail industry.

Influencing customers NOT to buy

As influencers continue to saturate every form of media, now nearly unavoidable through social media, is influencer marketing still as important as in the early days of the phenomenon or is over-consumption diluting its value?

One in four (25%) Americans say they are actually less likely to make a purchase from a DTC brand as result of seeing an influencer post on social media about it and three in five (62%) noting they aren’t swayed one way or another by influencer marketing.

Interested in learning more of this year’s insights? 

Check out the full 2022 Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Intent Index HERE.


Retail Brew: Diffusion PR 2022 Direct-to-Consumer Purchase Intent Index