How Nike, Unilever and Gymshark are building DTC empires – and the retail fightback

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Already a huge growth area in retail, direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales were sent into overdrive over the past few months when stores were forced to close around the world.

Shoppers were forced to rely on online retail like never before, and early indicators show that DTC operators were the big beneficiaries. 

According to Rakuten Intelligence, DTC ecommerce sales in the US jumped over 200% during the first week of lockdown (March 23 to 30), compared with a 14% uplift in ecommerce sales overall.

Accenture’s consumer goods strategy partner Oliver Grange says: “Before Covid-19, there was a group of people who would not shop online who have now shifted and are unlikely to go back. There are opportunities for brands from a market share and consumer understanding standpoint.”

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