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More Consumers Are Loyal To Brands Than Ever Before. Is DTC the Cause?

Shoppers are more loyal to brands than ever before, and the explosive growth of direct-to-consumer may deserve credit.

According to a report released Wednesday by e-commerce marketing platform Yotpo, about a quarter (24.8 percent) of consumers are more faithful to brands in 2019 than they were last year, and the company’s CEO believes that the influx of DTC businesses has inspired a newfound sense of commitment.

“This year’s data showing continued strong brand loyalty among consumers supports the idea of a brand renaissance, the same phenomenon fueling the rise of direct-to-consumer and the growth of the modern e-commerce industry,” said Tomer Tagrin. 

In a survey of more than 2,000 consumers across the U.S., nearly nine of 10 said they felt loyal to the brands that they shop. The majority (61 percent) said they felt an allegiance to between one to five brands, while a quarter (26.1 percent) said they were committed to between six to 10 brands.

Repeat purchasing proved to be the most prominent marker of loyalty for most consumers (67.8 percent), though more than a third (39.5) said that “love” for certain brands is what keeps them coming back. A near equal number of shoppers (37.7 percent) said that “preference despite price” defines their sense of fidelity.

And while price has always been an important consideration for consumers (with 62.9 percent of this year’s respondents saying it was a key driver for them to shop certain brands), Yotpo’s study revealed that product wins out when it comes to inspiring loyalty, with 77.8 percent of consumers saying compelling offerings fueled their feelings of devotion. Many DTC brands champion a single “hero” product, focusing on quality and sophistication rather than breadth of assortment.

Inspiring customer loyalty may have exponential payoffs. The majority (59 percent) of survey respondents said they would be “more than willing” to recommend a favored brand to their friends and family. And more than one third (36 percent) would even be willing to eschew Amazon or other cheaper options in favor of a brand that they support.

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This shows that brands can win by offering “amazing products at a fair price, and creating valuable experiences worth coming back to,” Tagrin said—a specialty of the direct-to-consumer set.

Brands should take advantage of opportunities to reward consumers for their continued patronage, Yotpo analysts asserted, taking every opportunity to bring them back into the fold with deals and perks. The majority (59.4 percent) of respondents said they would be willing to join their favorite brands’ loyalty programs.

And in the wake of holiday shopping season, special treatment for loyalists could prove even more fruitful. More than a third (41 percent) of shoppers are more likely to buy a gift for someone else from a brand in which they’re personally invested, the data showed.