October 8, 2018 by Sujay Seetharaman

This report was published by PipeCandy Inc. to explore DTC brands and estimate the total addressable market (TAM) for DTC brands in Fashion. The report structures the global Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) market and analyzes the DTC Fashion Brands eCommerce segment, estimates Total Addressable Market and profiles companies in terms of Web Sales, Product Category and Catalog Size.

For this analysis, we define “DTC brands” as “any business that sells directly to its consumers via online channels while seeking to provide an end-to-end brand experience by focusing on product design, marketing, and customer engagement.”

We used a mix of top-down and bottom-up approaches to analyze DTC brands, with a particular focus on fashion brands. Our analysis reveals the DTC market has one ‘long tail’ segment consisting of small businesses and start-ups, and three segments that are smaller in number but dominate the market in terms of presence and sales. This ‘long tail’ structure is typical of the eCommerce industry in general.  To estimate the total market size, we studied each of these segments and company distribution by Catalog Size, Product Category and Web Sales for each segment. This was supplemented by a bottom-up approach by analyzing the extensive PipeCandy database of eCommerce companies.

The total DTC market comprises of approximately 22,000 companies. Nearly 90% (20,000 companies) of the DTC market is made up of small lifestyle brands or companies selling niche product; the rest of the market comprises of three primary company segments:

  1. the emergence of several fast-growing, buzz-worthy DNVB brands (500-1000 companies)
  2. traditional B2B2C brands (200-400 companies) and
  3. legacy fashion retail megabrands (100-200 companies)

For the purpose of this report, we will combine the traditional B2B2C brands and legacy fashion retail megabrands together as “Traditional Brands”.

The three major product categories in the DTC companies in fashion are Apparel, Cosmetics, and Jewelry. Apparel dominates the market with a share of nearly 75% with Cosmetics (17%) and Jewelry (8%) taking up the rear. From a catalog size perspective, there are about 5000-6000 companies that have more than 500 SKUs. The proportion of these companies vary by segment: over 90% of the Traditional segment has over 500 SKUs, while just 20% of DNVB companies have more than 500 SKUs. Almost all ‘long tail’ companies have less than 500 SKUs.

Further insights from the analysis are provided in the section ‘Key Findings(Section 2.c) of this report. Details of the segment level analysis including numbers and charts are available in the section ‘Segment Analysis (Section 3.d) of this report.

Based on the TAM figures, this report concludes that

  1. The Traditional Brand segment has a few companies that make a billion-plus dollars in online sales. This reflects that they’re relatively still new to digital D2C. Companies like Nike, GAP have long been in the offline DTC space.
  2. The DNVB companies, by their very nature, focus on specific verticals within their product category and are likely to have a small catalog. Interestingly, due to their hyperfocal customer experience strategy, 97% of the companies make more than a million dollars in sales!
  3. The ‘long-tail’ DTC brands – while they could be digital-first similar to DNVBs – have a more generic approach towards product categories and SKUs.
  4. The DNVB segment is fast-growing and new companies emerge every week. So, it may be a good idea to track ‘long-tail’ company performance and identify emerging DNVB brands early.

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Sujay Seetharaman

Market Analyst @ PipeCandy

Currently donning the Researcher's hat. Talks to himself.