UK Top Direct to Consumer Brands
eCommerce Intelligence

25 D2C Brands Benefiting Most From U.K. Pandemic Shoppers

by Jamie Drayton , Head of Financial Services at Similarweb 5 Min.
September 29, 2020 | Updated August 1, 2022

The demand for direct-to-Consumer (D2C) products and DIY activities have introduced a popular route for both established retailers and up-and-coming brands to tap into more sales. In the U.K., as in the U.S., consumers want brands to connect with them, take on a social stance, and respond to their work-from-home routine. More and more companies are pursuing D2C as a model to keep up with the pandemic-driven changes in digital consumer behavior.

To demonstrate the local nuances of this global trend, we put together a list of the top 25 fastest-growing D2C sites in the United Kingdom. According to Statista, the eCommerce market in the U.K. is the largest in Europe and is expected to grow to US$116 billion by 2024. 

What do the top 25 D2C brands tell us

This report is part of an ongoing series of reports prepared in response to the D2C craze. Below you can find links to other D2C reports.

Similar to previous reports, this report tracks the top 25 D2C websites over the past six months (March to August) and their growth rates year-over-year (YoY). Spanning across seven categories, this diverse mix of brands sheds light on several key trends we see in the eCommerce landscape in the United Kingdom. While stay-at-home orders drive some of these trends, we’re also seeing signs of gradual recovery and an increase in consumer spending supporting recent economic growth.

The future of U.K. retail: 5 trends to watch

  1. Discretionary Spending Fuels D2C Growth – With 10 of the top 25 D2C brands on our list belonging to the Hobbies/Lifestyle category, it’s clear that targeting consumers stuck at home fuels online success.
  2. Fashion Isn’t Dead, but It’s Changing – Apparel sales are becoming more fragmented. The winners include brands that target the WFH professional or new segments for D2C sites like Haute Hijab.
  3. Organic Feminine Care Sees Success Globally – Callaly is winning in the U.K. by responding to the global trend of increased consumer demands for ingredient transparency and a commitment to organic, plant-based products.
  4. Buy Her Flowers… or Don’t? – Three of our top 25 D2C brands are related to flowers. The category is filled with both optimizers and disruptors such as Don’t Buy Her Flowers.
  5. (Winter) At-Home Fitness Is Coming – Following Peloton’s market lead, the at-home fitness category is poised for growth with millions of people being urged to stay home.

How we picked the list of the top U.K. D2C brands

To determine the 25 fastest-growing D2C sites, Similarweb measured U.K. website traffic and YoY growth rates of IAB listed D2C sites that grew the most in the retail and eCommerce category. Results are limited to sites that receive at least 10,000 monthly visits (on average) to ensure they can adequately represent the industry and have enough recognition among customers. The average YoY growth in the selected timeframe is 182%, a very impressive metric well beyond the category’s performance.

Below we take a look at three of the brands on our list that have demonstrated remarkable growth in terms of organic and paid search: Callaly (a company that develops and manufactures personal care products for women), Don’t Buy Her Flowers (an eCommerce site that offers gift boxes), and Haute Hijab (a fashion brand for Muslim women). All three sites have seen website traffic gains in excess of 120% over the past year.
Demand for Callaly’s Plant-Based Feminine Care Products Is Growing

Demand for Callaly’s plant-based feminine care products grows 

Callaly, the ‘organic period products’ brand, capitalizes on a trend impacting the global feminine care space. Like Lola and Rael in the U.S., Callaly mixes transparency and strong branding with an organic focus on disrupting the feminine care space.  

YoY traffic to calla.ly increased by a whopping 1,267%, the largest growth across the set. While there have been notable increases in traffic across channels, paid search has experienced the most dramatic jump. In March-August of 2019, Calla.ly received no traffic through this channel. Now, one in three clicks arrives through paid search. 

Across the top paid terms driving traffic to Callaly, we see a pattern of branded keywords related to ‘organic’ and subscription box. The massive investment in search highlights Callaly’s aggressive strategy to grow traffic and sales quickly.
Don’t Buy Her Flowers Seems to Know How to Win a Woman’s Heart

Don’t Buy Her Flowers knows how to win hearts

Don’t Buy Her Flowers (+122% growth) intends to push consumers towards what its name suggests. This U.K. D2C brand aims to disrupt the flower industry by offering gift box alternatives to substitute the classic purchase of flowers. The online gifts provider joins two other florists that made our list: Bloom & Wild (which is by far the traffic leader in the category) and Freddie’s Flowers. These three D2C brands succeed by making gift ordering and delivery as streamlined as possible, from vase selection and arrangement instructions to (flowerless) gift packages.

Despite impressive growth, bloomandwild.com (+172%) and freddiesflowers.com (+145%) have managed to increase at faster rates than dontbuyherflowers.com, and already command a much larger share of traffic. Time will tell if this new entrant can upset the market.

Haute Hijab: Market Segmentation in the Fashion Industry Is Key to Growth

Haute Hijab: Market segmentation in the fashion industry is key to growth

With activewear brands seeing a massive spike as consumers spend more time in their homes, it’s no wonder that six of the top 25 D2C sites in the U.K. fall into the apparel category. However, while most of these brands focus on athleisure and workout apparel, Haute Hijab brings the D2C apparel and customer-centric mindset to a new segment.   

The Hijab-focused fashion site has seen the highest growth YoY in the D2C apparel category. Looking at hautehijab.com’s marketing mix, we see that this growth is driven by organic search – 73% of all traffic comes from this marketing channel. Looking at trending searches driving traffic to the website, we see a mix of product-related searches and more general topics. Haute Hijab captures this traffic by creating content that their shoppers are likely interested in.

Get the full report to understand the D2C consumer shopping experience

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More exclusive Similarweb reports

This blog was written in collaboration with Daniel Schneider, Content Marketing Manager at Similarweb.

This post is subject to Similarweb legal notices and disclaimers.

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