Direct brand consumers now represent 48% of US shoppers, disrupting the shopping experience by actively engaging with branded content and placing greater emphasis on self-expression through the brands they purchase.
A recent survey by IAB found that direct brand consumers also shop for incumbent brands, but they are more likely to purchase a brand because it expresses who they are.
Indeed, self-expression (36%) appears to be a much more important driver for direct brand consumers than incumbent brand shoppers (25%).
Direct brand consumers are also 36% more likely to research brands before making a purchase and 2.5x more likely to consult influencers before shopping.
At the same time, they are 61% more likely to view branded videos and 75% more likely to peruse publisher sites for brand information.
For direct brand consumers, great adverts do influence purchasing decisions (22%), alongside innovative products and good online content (21% each).
The good news for brand is that disrupter consumers like to actively share brand posts (32%) with Facebook (66%) and Instagram (42%) being the dominant channels to share to.
For these shoppers, brand loyalty stems from subscribing to a brand, following them on social media and sharing stories about a chosen brand.
Influencers have great power of the decisions direct brand consumers make with 32% checking out influencers and celebrities before purchasing a brand.
Direct brand consumers are twice as likely to expect brands to partner with celebrities or influencers. They are also 3x more likely to say that influencers or celebrities are a reliable way to discover new brands.
In addition, they are 20% more likely to say that they’ve tried a brand because of an expert recommendation.
According to the research, around one in three disruptor consumers are considered super influencers, who subscribe to brand newsletters and share a chosen brand’s online posts.
Interestingly, 61% of direct brand consumers are more likely to use an app to make purchases whilst 48% shop on mobile web.
“Unlike many traditional brands, direct brands and those disrupting the disruptors, have embraced consumers and built community. Today’s consumer expects access and input into the companies they support,” concludes Randall Rothenberg, CEO, IAB. “This deeper relationship not only shows up in loyalty, but actually perpetuates two-way value for both consumer and brand—in the creation of self-as-a brand and building brand awareness through influence.”