What Would be The Key Trends and Forecast in the Direct-to-Consumer Industry?

4 industry trends and forecasts that will shape the D2C industry in future.


The pandemic was a shot in the arm for growth of digital-first brands in India and was an equal contender along the e-commerce biggies. The digital-first brands discovered that eliminating retailers and other intermediaries will provide them complete autonomy in selling and marketing of products. With an internet population of 639 million, the growth of direct-to-consumer brands is estimated to create a market worth $100 billion by 2025 as per Avendus Capital.As we move to the third decade of the 21st Century, the workforce will include individuals from Gen Z who are brought up in proximity with the internet, dot.com, mobiles, personal computers, etc. The D2C industry will be required to align and respond to the customer preferences of Gen Z who will be their new target consumers in the coming years. Below are the D2C industry trends and forecasts that will rule in the coming years: 

Emerging D2C Industry Trends and Forecasts

Buy Now Pay Later 

Pay cuts and salaries have induced conscious spending among the masses, which is why D2C is considering ‘Buy now pay later (BNPL)’ parallel to digital payment methods that allow customers to purchase items even of a smaller ticket price to buy on credit. The BNPL payment is a flexible, no-cost payment option that will allow millions of Indians to buy white goods such as AC, refrigerator as well products of small ticket size. This payment type will allow the D2C businesses to generate sales during challenging times and will help consumers with their aspirational purchases.Payments using fintech apps have skyrocketed in the pandemic and have a bright future due to Gen Z believing in technology. D2C startups for enabling the BNPL payments can collaborate with fintech apps to offer micro-credit to the customer at the point of sale at the checkout with no hassle of paperwork or documentation. 

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As we move to the third decade of the 21st Century, the workforce will include individuals from Gen Z who are brought up in proximity with the internet, dot.com, mobiles, personal computers, etc.

Digital Sampling 

D2C companies belonging to verticals like beauty and cosmetics will be collaborating with digital sampling platforms such as Smytten , TryKiya, etc. Customers before trying out cosmetics and beauty products from digital-first brands for routine usage would want to experience the quality of the products.

Product sampling for the D2C brands can be a powerful tool to get a consumer to try the product for the first time, eventually generating sales. D2C brands opting for digital sampling will help generate brand awareness, foster brand loyalty, trust, and increase conversions. 

Investing in personalized applications 

The future Gen Z will prefer brands that will focus on offering self-expression and making them feel special than the ‘one size for all’ theory. Besides, feeling special they will be agreeing to pay for a premium for brands that will highlight their personality. They will also value brands that will have unisex products than segregated for males or females.

To discern and understand the changing consumer tastes and demands D2C startups need to incorporate personalisation applications as a part of marketing strategy to identify and track behavioural changes among the Gen Z customers. 

Giving back to the society and business ethics

Gen Z seeks justice and wants to break all the old regressive traditions and ideologies, which is why they are also known as woke youngsters. Soon, this ‘wokeness’ will become one of the industry trends of D2C startups. Woke is an American term that means a heightened awareness of issues regarding social injustices. 

The youngsters are surrounded by an abundance of information about brands and are well informed about a brand such as where, how, and in what conditions they are manufactured. They will showcase a strong dislike for brands that have no altruistic eye for the environment or humans and expect brands to ‘take a stand’. D2C beauty and wellness care brand Mamaearth has cultivated this practice of planting a tree in the name of a customer and shares its growth from time to time on its Instagram stories. Therefore, D2C startups showcasing ethics in brand stories and marketing will attract the customer base. 

Thus, with above-mentioned industry trends the D2C startups or brands need to keep in mind these key trends while foraying into the highly digitised business environment. 

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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