IAB study shows half of US consumer purchase disruptor brands

Man compares product online

IAB, the national trade association for the digital media and marketing industries, released “Disrupting Brand Preference,” a study that shows that disruptor brand shoppers comprise 48 percent of all US consumers.

They are younger than incumbent brand-only shoppers, with 84 percent under 54 years old, and are likelier to have a household income of more than $75,000.

In addition, direct-to-consumer (DTC) buyers use their favorite brands as vehicles for self-promotion, with twice as many compared to incumbent brand-only shoppers saying that they choose brands to express “who I am.”

One in every three DTC brand shoppers are part of a new audience group identified by the study called “Super Influencers.”

These “Super Influencers” deliberately take time and effort to re-post and/or create brand-centric content to increase their own influence.

The research makes clear that they are not sharing this content randomly. They are strategic and driven.

Other key takeaways from the study include

  • DTC buyers find brand value in their ability to contribute ideas and feedback to brands and gain heightened visibility through their sizable communities
  • The “Facebook family” remains #1 for sharing brand attitudes—particularly by older, incumbent brand-only shoppers
  • Disruptor brands build consumer loyalty—as well as lifetime value (LTV)—through cross-channel interaction
  • Search, shopping, and social media sites together are nearly equal to traditional TV for brand discovery
  • Influencers are the “advertising” of the modern consumer economy, and wield their greatest power during initial purchase consideration and further down the purchase funnel
  • Disruptor consumers expect 24/7 omnichannel access

“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. 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.”

Randall Rothenberg, CEO, IAB

Young Woman Shopping

“There is a tendency to think that the online social activities of younger consumers are incidental—frivolous. But they are not. The differences between disruptor brand consumers and incumbent-only shoppers are stark. For disruptor brand consumers, social behaviors are calculated and deliberate, feeding their need for self-expression.”

Sue Hogan, Senior Vice President, Research and Measurement, IAB

“Disrupting Brand Preference” is sponsored by Google, PebblePost, and Spotify.

The study is being released as part of IAB Brand Storytellers @ VidCon, the trade organization’s first-ever programming track at the conference. To review the complete findings, please go here.

Opportunity for entrepreneurs to build disruptor brand

While the study material highlights many “major” disrupting brands. The take-away here is that any size business can become a DTC brand.

For entrepreneurs that have products produced overseas, branding should be a significant part of their marketing strategy.

Over time, even small businesses can build a loyal following, therefore making sure the packaging and overall branding is consistent, clear, and professional should be at top the list for small business owners.

READ MORE: The ultimate guide to branding your Etsy business


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