D2C Strategies in the Personal Care Market

D2C Strategies in the Personal Care Market

This is a thoroughly-researched, carefully-organized report about the direct-to-consumer (D2C / DTC) strategies being used by emerging personal care brands. It is about 30,000 words, structured around areas of strategic and operational relevance. Personal care categories provide key insights on the global direct-to-consumer opportunity.

Executives and marketers are working to identify the ideal intervals, contents, bundles, etc. that will satisfy the recurring needs as well as the personal preferences that define personal care. Some leading brands are fundamentally rethinking their products. In some instances, their hope is that product re-engineering can potentially lead to a consumer behavioral re-engineering of sorts, enabling the re-engineering of business models, away from disrupted or less reliable retail environments and towards data-generating ecommerce relationships.

Digital advancements, the multitude of channels, and the prevalence of mobile effectively lowers the barriers to entry for D2C brands but it also increases the importance of a brand point of view that differentiates and earns trust. Early on in the pandemic, and at later points as well, price gouging in CPG categories, especially personal care, caused ecommerce and digital advertising platforms to modify their policies. The report addresses these digital marketing factors in its strategic guidance, as well.


This report explores the history and future of brand/customer relationships in personal care categories.

The personal care market provided a foundation for the development of D2C business models, as it did historically with mail order. Due to the acceleration of ecommerce during the pandemic, everyone is now operating off a new baseline of brand accountability and process consistency, which significantly reduces information asymmetry and invites more frequent digital transactions. Influencers and user-generated content are also affecting consumer behaviors.

As the subscription ecommerce market for personal care continues to dramatically grow, firms utilizing the tactics outlined in this report might be able to command greater market share. Even key players may have to adjust their outlooks and approaches, as customer acquisition costs (CAC) and retention take on new meanings for their business operations.

Mergers and acquisitions will also reshape the market, and the perceived consumer value of personalized formulations will be put to the test.

This report will provide comprehensive answers to the following key questions:
• How are D2C personal care brands communicating their value digitally?
• What is the viability of subscriptions in D2C personal care?
• What are the key levers for digital growth?
• How are D2C personal care brands targeting potential consumer segments?
• What are specific, high-ROI digital marketing strategies for D2C personal care brands?
• What are the emerging trends in D2C personal care?
• What are other challenges in D2C personal care and the most effective strategies for overcoming them?
• How do D2C personal care brands view brick-and-mortar?
• What are some of the sustainability and social issues that D2C personal care brands could investigate and remedy?


Policy2050 excels at identifying the strategies and patterns within complex data that is gathered through exhaustive secondary and primary research. This process includes publicly available sources, such as annual reports, academic journals, consumer surveys, trade publications, industry symposia, and podcasts, along with interviews and inputs from a wide network of market experts and internal knowledge. Strategic perspectives are leveraged from across the value chain and from relevant tech vendors causing disruptions or reconfigurations in markets.

Information is filtered and validated through this lens of expertise and scrutiny, or contextualized to expose differences in results and industry disagreements. Perceptions of current trends, as reflected in reporting, often translate into actions and investments with consequences. The many hyperlinks included throughout this report help to ensure that important figures, strategic statements, and other market characterizations are easily and fully traceable.

All of this analysis is delivered within an actionable framework that outlines best practices, proposes innovations or adaptations, and extracts insights from case studies. Infographics and imagery are used to express key concepts and enliven this comprehensive overview where appropriate.


This report aggregates strategic insights from established and disruptive personal care brands with D2C channels. Companies mentioned in this report include:

• Dollar Shave Club (Unilever)
• Harry’s
• Hims & Hers Health
• Public Goods
• Hero Cosmetics
• Snow Teeth Whitening/Snow Cosmetics
• Hydroxatone
• Keranique
• Schmidt’s Naturals (Unilever)
• Gillette (Procter & Gamble)
• Colgate-Palmolive
• Tiege Hanley
• Hawthorne
• Manscaped
• Prose
• Edgewell Personal Care Co.
• Invincible Brands Holding (Henkel)
• Bragg Live Food Products
• Amazon
• Walmart
• Target
• Anthropologie
• Sephora

1. Introduction
1.1 Key Benefits of this Report
1.2 Target Audience
1.3 Companies Mentioned in this Report
1.4 Methodology
2. Executive Summary
2.1 Properly Conceptualizing & Responding to the Modern CPG Consumer
2.2 D2C/Subscription Model Viability in Personal Care Categories
2.3 Launching New Brands
2.4 D2C Personal Care Marketing Considerations
2.5 Additional Business and Omnichannel Considerations
2.6 Sustainability and Social Considerations
3. Why D2C Brands Must Set Expectations and Earn Trust
3.1 Pitching simplicity
3.2 Illuminating history
3.3 Internal considerations
3.4 Crowded categories
3.5 Identifying needs; when less is more
3.6 Innovating to the point of parody
3.7 Key takeaways
4. Viability of Subscriptions in D2C Personal Care
4.1 Consumer experimentation
4.2 Pre-COVID figures
4.3 Retention rates
4.4 Personalization as a subscription motivator
4.5 Order frequency/confusion as a subscription deterrent
4.6 Communicating the subscription model
4.7 The outlook of brands
4.8 Key takeaways
5. Launching New Brands
5.1 Implications of Lowered Barriers to Entry in D2C Personal Care
5.2 When Disruptors Meet Manufacturers
5.3 Using Amazon as a Testing Ground
5.4 Key takeaways
6. Using Digital as a Way to Circumvent Stigma
7. User-Generated Content in D2C Personal Care
8. Automating Behaviors and Duplicating Resources
8.1 Automating behaviors and duplicating resources
8.2 Diversifying to centralize the search for care
9. Match Products, Content, and Underlying Needs
10. Underpriced Attention
10.1 Pandemic marketing
10.2 Influencer campaigns
10.3 Key takeaways
11. Determine the Key Levers
11.1 Ecommerce pillars
11.2 Consumer segment motivations
11.3 The digital offer
11.4 Allowable cost per order (ACPO)
11.5 Funnels, fundamentals, and financing
11.6 Growth assets through acquisitions
12. D2C Personal Care Startups’ Views on Retailers
12.1 Omnichannel and conversions
12.2 Online retailer differences in personal care categories
12.3 Brand perspectives
13. Sustainability and Social Considerations
13.1 Health and personal hygiene
13.2 Product formulations
13.3 Sustainable packaging
13.4 Culture and body image

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