In Q1 2021, we surveyed 140 brand manufacturer decision-makers across the globe who are familiar with their company’s approach to digital sales. Conducted in partnership with Vorys eControl, we wanted to understand the digital commerce approaches of brand manufacturers. Key areas that we explored included digital sales via online marketplaces, direct-to-consumer (DTC) sites, and wholesale dot-com sites.

Brand manufacturers can use the results of Forrester’s Q1 2021 Global State Of Brand Manufacturers Survey to benchmark their performance and internally make the case for investments in digital sales strategies. Some key highlights of the survey included:

  • In 2020, brand manufacturers saw digital sales grow faster than overall company sales.
    • For these companies, digital sales grew an average of 49% year over year (YOY), compared to 15% YOY growth for overall sales.
  • Marketplaces are large and fast-growing but are also challenging to manage.
    • Online marketplaces represent the largest average percentage of digital sales across brand manufacturers we surveyed, followed by wholesale dot-com and DTC sales.
    • Brand manufacturers cited problems with marketplaces including gray-market sellers, counterfeits, and channel conflict with other accounts or distributors.
  • Brand manufacturers use governance programs and e-control measures to resolve pricing and distribution issues.
    • Most brand manufacturers use a combination of pricing/advertised price policies and distribution policies to resolve pricing and distribution issues.
    • Over one-third of brand manufacturers currently have an e-control program. Those that do have e-control programs in place report that their impact includes fewer online gray-market sellers and sales, more consistent pricing, and greater profit.

To see these results in more detail, please see our report, “How Brand Manufacturers Can Manage Messy Online Marketplaces,” and listen to our Retail Lens webinar on this topic. And please schedule an inquiry with me to discuss our findings and how to apply them to your company.