Brands like Warby Parker, Stitch Fix, FIGS Inc, and Allbirds Inc. Launched a new type of retail by selling “direct to consumer” – on the internet — rather than through traditional retailers. These companies’ values rose well into the billions, riding on the promise of little overhead, no intermediaries, and a limitless pool of clients. They appeared to be invincible. Today, however, they’re tumbling hard and there’s no sign of a bottom in sight.
DTC companies are being hit hard by a bleak combo of escalating Facebook ad pricing, poor admeasurement, ballooning shipping costs, newly-sober public markets, and smaller-than-anticipated client bases.
Almost every public DTC company with a market valuation of more than $800 million is suffering with sales shrinkage, falling profits, rapid losses, or a mix of all three, according to a Big Technology review of public DTC businesses with market caps of more than $800 million. In 2022, they collectively lost billions in market capitalization, underperforming the market in an already dismal year.
Allbirds, Hims and Hers, Peloton, Revolve, StitchFix, Warby Parker, and Wayfair have all reported substantial losses, profitability shrinkage, or both in their earnings reports over the last year in this environment.