In recent years, the D2C industry has grown exponentially. In fact, it is predicted that by 2024, the D2C market in the US is set to reach 213 billion U.S. dollars. But this comes as no surprise.
With the rise of e-commerce and changing consumer expectations, D2C brands have been able to connect with customers in new and innovative ways. That said, as these brands continue to expand, the importance of global expansion becomes increasingly evident.
That’s why we wrote this article in which we explore what D2C brands need to know about global expansion in 2024.
Let’s start with a review of the four key trends that will influence the D2C industry in 2024.
4 Key Trends that Will Shape the D2C Landscape in 2024
- Shoppers Around the Globe Seek D2C
All signs show that global customers will increasingly turn to D2C shopping in 2024 and beyond. According to Forbes, the shift in consumer behavior can be attributed to several factors, including the convenience and personalized experience offered by D2C brands. Thus, in 2024, retailers must adapt and respond to this evolving consumer demand by developing robust D2C (omnichannel) strategies.
- Saturated E-Commerce, Take it Offline Again
E-commerce has played a central role in the growth of the D2C industry, and this trend is only set to continue in 2024. Customers increasingly shop online, and D2C brands must ensure their e-commerce strategies are optimized for success. This means having easy-to-use websites optimized for mobile devices, a seamless checkout process, and fast and reliable shipping options.
To most of you, this is nothing new. But over the course of 2022 and 2023, successful D2C brands have mastered eCommerce and the digital marketing techniques necessary to keep online momentum. It’s becoming increasingly tough to stand apart from competitors if you’re all playing the same game. Hence, alongside maintaining a strong online presence, your D2C brand would do good by investing in offline expansion for 2024. Your customers increasingly demand personalized customer journeys and human interactions.
Whether you invest in brand experience centers, smart vending machines, brick & mortar stores, or even just having a sales team distributing free samples in high footfall areas: Your customers are looking for such connections. And it’s a great way to stand out from the rest.
- Personalization will Drive Global Brand Engagement
Staying on the topic of personalization, customer expectations continue to evolve, and D2C brands must stay ahead of the curve to succeed in 2024.
Customers seek unique products and experiences that reflect their tastes and preferences. In fact, as per KPMG data, 75% of D2C customers are willing to pay more for a personalized shopping experience.
With this in mind, D2C brands offering personalized products and experiences will be well-positioned to connect with customers and build brand loyalty.
- Data-Driven Marketing and AI
Last but not least is a data-driven marketing and AI trend. Most D2C brands have already tapped into data analytics and AI technologies to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior and buying patterns. But this trend will be particularly strong in 2024.
Brands that adopt these technologies will maintain a competitive edge and arm themselves with valuable data, thereby increasing their chances of success during expansion. Furthermore, collecting data on your target group segments circles back to personalization: It allows you to tailor your offering even further.
Assessing Market Opportunities for Global Expansion
Having explored the key trends and forces influencing the D2C market, it is essential to bear in mind the following additional factors while expanding your D2C brand.
Identifying High-Growth Markets
For the past decade, Germany, Ireland, and the UK were popular markets for expansion among US businesses. But, in 2024, these markets will become trickier to penetrate, mainly due to rising competition.
Instead, you might want to consider “less obvious” markets that can equally offer excellent growth potential. For example, China, Eurasia, and the Baltic States will be among the popular markets for D2C expansion in 2024.
China, for example, has a growing middle class with increasing disposable income, making it an attractive market for many D2C brands. Eurasia, on the other hand, has a massive population and a growing e-commerce sector, providing a significant opportunity for brands to expand their reach. The Baltics, with its diverse population and strategic location, is also a market with tremendous potential for growth.
Analyzing Market Competition
In 2024, understanding the competitive landscape will be crucial for success when expanding globally. D2C brands must analyze the competition in their target markets and be prepared to differentiate themselves from competitors in new and innovative ways. For example, a brand could focus on sustainability or social responsibility to differentiate itself from competitors.
It’s also essential to remember that the competitive landscape can vary significantly from country to country. A successful brand in one market may struggle in another due to cultural differences or differing consumer preferences.
Evaluating Market Entry Barriers
Market entry barriers can be significant for D2C brands expanding globally. In 2024, brands must be prepared to navigate these barriers, including culture, language, and regulatory differences. For example, a brand expanding into a new market may need to adjust its marketing strategy to appeal to the local culture or comply with new regulations.
Developing a Global Expansion Strategy
Expanding your D2C brand in 2024 will require you to develop a comprehensive global expansion strategy that considers customers’ unique needs and preferences in each market.
Check out these three key considerations you should be aware of:
- Adapting Your Product Offerings is a Must
In 2024, one of the critical considerations for D2C brands when expanding internationally will be product adaptation to meet customer needs in different markets. While some products may be universally popular, others may need to be modified or localized to appeal to local tastes and preferences.
To illustrate, a food brand may have to modify its recipes to cater to different ingredients and flavor preferences that are popular in a specific region. In fact, that’s exactly what HelloFresh, a box subscription business, did in 2023 in Spain. They adapted their recipes to align with the country’s unique taste and incorporated fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Thus, modifying the products will become even more important in 2024.
- Localizing Marketing and Branding Efforts
To achieve successful global expansion in 2024, D2C brands must do more than just translate marketing materials. They will need to adapt their marketing and branding to connect effectively with customers in new markets. This requires understanding local cultural norms, values, and communication styles.
If your D2C brand relies on social media influencers in your home market, you may need to adjust their approach when entering a market where influencer marketing is less prevalent. Similarly, if your advertising uses humor or sarcasm, you might need to tone down your messaging in a market where these communication styles are not well-received.
- Building a Scalable Supply Chain
Finally, D2C brands planning to expand globally in 2024 must ensure that their supply chains are scalable and adaptable to meet the demands of each market. This requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that products can be manufactured, shipped, and delivered efficiently and cost-effectively.
Brands must also be prepared to adapt to changing conditions in each market, such as fluctuations in demand, changes in regulations or tariffs, or disruptions in transportation or logistics. This may require building redundancy into the supply chain, developing alternative sourcing strategies, or investing in new technology or infrastructure to improve efficiency.
Global expansion is essential for D2C brands looking to grow and succeed in 2024. By understanding the D2C landscape, assessing market opportunities, and developing a global expansion strategy, D2C brands can position themselves for success and connect with customers in new and innovative ways.
At Filuet, we provide leading international expansion solutions to D2C brands that want to enter foreign markets, cut through fears, and confidently grow their global empire.
Get in touch with us today to find out more.