Feb 17, 2020

IAB "250 Brands to Watch" Identifies the Most Disruptive U.S

10 min
NEW YORK and PA...

NEW YORK and PALM DESERT, Calif., Feb. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Now in its third year, IAB has unveiled the most disruptive, influential DTC brands. More than 3,500 brands were analyzed before IAB narrowed the list to the most important 250 direct-to-consumer products. This year, for the first time ever, 100 service companies were added.

"These brands epitomize the growing disruptor brand economy, representing the leading edge of business development across the U.S. and globally," says IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg. "We watch these brands because their business model, personalized relationships with consumers and go-to-market strategies are transforming how brands are born, how they are advertised, and what consumers expect. Traditional brands aspire to their nimbleness and engagement. If they want to understand the future of the consumer economy, there is no better model to follow than the IAB 250."

New "to watch" in 2020 includes consumer brands such as Andie, BodyArmor and Wander Beauty, and services like ClassPass, Le Tote and Lyft.

"Consumers and distribution channels have changed. Brands go to market faster, with marketing that's focused on stimulating conversation and ensuring powerful one-to-one customer experiences. At the core of everything is a continuous stream of first-party data. Brands that don't adapt, will not survive," explains Sue Hogan, SVP Research and Analytics, IAB.

Top Insights From the Top Brands and Services

VC Funding is Still Emerging
Despite all the talk of VC funding and news articles about VCs looking for ROI, IAB research data tells a different story.

A scant 11 percent of IAB 250 DTC brands are VC backed. There aren't a lot of DTC brands on Sand Hill Road. Just 11 of the 87 companies on the list in California are VC backed. And 10 of the 62 in NYC are backed.

The implication? There are still plenty of funding opportunities out there. However, VC funding is not mandatory.

Social Footprint and Media Diversification Correlates to Sales
For DTC brands, their social footprint is critical to driving business. If no brand is dominating the social conversation in a given category, there is significant room for a major DTC brand to take hold and thrive. There's no question that digital spend and social footprint are correlated.  But scaling social alone will not get a DTC to the next level of growth.

IAB research has identified many opportunities for media diversification, including exciting new advertising units.

In Q4 2019 Pinterest launched "Shop the Look mobile ads" enabling retailers to feature up to 25 products in a single ad on mobile devices and direct users to their own retail site. Other features for better UX and engagement are continually being created to ensure growth and relevancy in this growing Image Search space.

TikTok is beta testing shoppable short‐form videos which will allow viewers to click on the in‐app video and be taken directly to the creator's store without leaving TikTok.

Small wonder that the referral share of traffic that social provides e-commerce sites grew 20% from 7.6% to 9.1%; this is the largest growth seen since 2016.

Subscription and Customization
It's impossible to overstate the role and impact data has on the way IAB DTC 250 brands do business. Data impacts not just how these brands sell, but what they sell. DTC is where the promise of mass customization gets real. For example, pet care brands combine specific educational information about a consumer's pet with customized products created for the pet's precise growth stage. Everything about the experience is customized—a consumer simply creates a profile and a care package arrives within 7 days.

A core part of the promise of DTC brands is that they can and will know consumers better, serve them better, and adapt to their needs better than any large-scale brand sold through mass retail.

The Rise of the Mega DTCs
In the early days, you could be excused for dismissing DTC brands as minor niche players driving tiny amounts of revenue. No more.

No less than seven disruptor IAB 250 brands have revenues of over $100M.

  • Apparel/Fashion: Stitch Fix
  • Food and Beverage: Home Chef
  • Health/Wellness: Peloton
  • Hobbies/Lifestyle: Loot Crate
  • Home and Appliance: Casper
  • Personal Care: The Honest Company
  • Pet Care: Chewy

IAB research has also revealed that the verticals yielding the highest revenue in the shortest period of time are in categories like personal care, health/wellness, baby care/parenting, and pet care.

More than Half of DTC Founders are Women 
Among the many changes wrought by the rise of DTC: it appears to be democratizing entrepreneurship. More than half (53 percent) of DTC brands have female founders.  The first wave of DTC brands with female founders included female apparel brands like ThirdLove and cosmetics brands like Glossier. In 2020, female DTC founders aren't just competing in "women's" categories, they are battling for share in nearly every category imaginable.


250 Direct Brand Products to
Watch 2020

*By Category; Sorted Alphabetically by
Revenue Tier

100 Direct Brand Services to

Watch 2020

*By Category; Sorted Alphabetically by
Revenue Tier



1.  Flaviar

1.  Anomalie

2.  Glass Vodka

2.  Knot Standard

3.  Hopsy

3.  Le Tote

4.  MobCraft Beer

4.  Poshmark

5.  Rebel Coast Winery

5.  Wildfang

6.  Strike Brewing Co.

7.  VineBox

Baby Care/Parenting

1.  Greenlight Financial Technology


2.  Tinkergarten

1.  Stitch Fix

3.  Wonderschool

2.  Adore Me

4.  Bark Technologies

3.  Untuckit

4.  Allbirds


5.  Allume

1.  Codecademy

6.  Anatomie

2.  Coursera

7.  Away

3.  Duolingo

8.  BaubleBar

4.  StudySoup

9.  Draper James

5.  AdmitSee

10.  Eloquii

6.  Classkick

11.  FabFitFun

7.  CodeMonkey Studios

12.  Flint and Tinder

8.  ELSA

13.  Grailed

9.  Explain Everything

14.  Moxie Jean

10.  Motion Math

15.  MVMT

11.  Pear Deck

16.  Outdoor Voices

12.  PicMonic

17.  Stadium Goods

13.  Preply

18.  1Atelier

14.  PsychArmor

19.  Acustom Apparel

15.  SoloLearn

20.  American Giant

16.  Study Edge

21.  Andie

17.  Studypool

22.  Armarium

18.  Testive

23.  Atoms



25.  Birddogs Shorts

1.  PeerStreet

26.  BOW & Drape

2.  Stash

27.  Briogeo Hair Care

3.  Brigit

28.  Closet Candy Boutique

4.  Rare Bits

29.  Cubcoats

5.  Trim

30.  CUUP

31.  Ellie

Food and Beverage

32.  Enflux

1.  Caviar

33.  Enso Rings

2.  Instacart

34.  For Days

3.  Postmates

35.  For Love of lemons

4.  Doordash

36.  Glyph

5.  Favor

37.  Good American Denim

6.  Waitr

38.  Hari Mari

7.  Chowbus

39.  Harper Wilde

8.  EatStreet

40.  HATCH Collection

9.  Gobble

41.  Haute Hijab

10.  Butler Hospitality

42.  Honeybum

11.  Good Uncle

43.  Hylete

12.  Goodybag

44.  Illuminative

13.  Local Crate

45.  InstaNatural

14.  PlateJoy

46.  Islide

47.  Ivory Ella


48.  Kiki La'Rue

1.  Soothe

49.  Koio Collective

2.  Aaptiv

50.  Lems Shoes

3.  Blink Health

51.  Lizzy James Inc

4.  Calm

52.  Local Eclectic

5.  ClassPass

53.  Mented Cosmetics

6.  Infinite Recovery

54.  MeUndies

7.  Zeel

55.  Neighborhood Goods

8.  Aura

56.  Nomad

9.  Grokker

57.  Nomatic

10.  Happify

58.  Parks Project

11.  Learn to Live

59.  Phat Buddha Wear

12.  Nutrimedy

60.  Pop & Suki

13.  Obe


14.  Shine

62.  Rowing Blazers

15.  Ten Percent Happier

63.  Sarah Flint

16.  Whoop

64.  Schoola

17.  iCouch

65.  Shinesty

18.  LARKR

66.  Summersalt

19.  nOCD

67.  Super Heroic

20.  Prescribe FIT

68.  ThirdLove

69.  TrackSmith


70.  Trendy Butler

1.  Cambly

71.  Tuckernuck

2.  Glamping Hub

72.  United by Blue

3.  Jubel

73.  Universal Standard

4.  OpenBazaar

74.  Vie Active

5.  Twigtale

75.  Villageluxe.com

6.  Vimbly

76.  Western Rise

7.  YogaTrail

77.  Westward Leaning

8.  MeetMindful

78.  WONE

9.  Siren Marine

79.  Ash & Erie

80.  Dagne Dover

Home and Appliance

81.  Markhor

1.  Grove Collaborative

82.  Original Stitch

2.  Havenly

83.  Spruce

84.  Swet Tailor

Personal Care

85.  Tipsy Elves

1.  Core Wellness, Inc

2.  Mayvenn

Baby Care/Parenting

1.  Osmo

Pet Care

2.  Bitsbox

1.  Wag

3.  codeSpark

4.  Coterie


5.  Please And Carrots

1.  Lyft

6.  smilo

2.  Domicile

7.  Willow

3.  Domio

8.  Tactical Baby Gear

4.  Eightydays

5.  KEY Concierge

Consumer Electronics

6.  Remote Year

1.  Awair

7.  Sonder

2.  LuminAID

8.  Turo

3.  Nonda

9.  AllTheRooms

4.  Wynd Technologies

10.  AtYourGate

5.  Embr Labs

11.  Chimani

12.  Journy

Food and Beverage

13.  Kimkim

1.  Home Chef

14.  Mozio

2.  Thrive Market

15.  Outsite


16.  Recharge

4.  Daily Harvest

17.  Suiteness

5.  High Brew Coffee

18.  ViaHero

6.  Kill Cliff

19.  Tesloop

7.  Misfits MARKET

20.  VacationRenter

8.  New Age Beverages

9.  Suja Life

10.  Trifecta Nutrition

11.  Apres

12.  Aspire Food Group

13.  Banza

14.  BodyArmor

15.  Bonafide Provisions

16.  Bright Greens

17.  Coco5

18.  Crowd Cow

19.  Crunchsters

20.  Death Wish Coffee

21.  Drink Simple

22.  Elev8 Hemp

23.  Fuego Box

24.  Fuel For Fire

25.  Generosity Beverages

26.  Grow & Behold Foods

27.  JUST Goods

28.  KiiTO

29.  Koia

30.  Laird Superfood

31.  Lakanto

32.  LifeFuels

33.  MatchaBar

34.  Oakridge Dairy


36.  Once Upon a Farm

37.  Outlaw Beverage

38.  Prepd

39.  Protein2O

40.  Raised Real

41.  Revere

42.  Soozy's

43.  Spero Foods

44.  Tea Drops

45.  TryTheWorld

46.  Weller

47.  Yumi

48.  Zest Tea

49.  Veestro

50.  Your Super


1.  Peloton

2.  Campus Protein

3.  Care/Of

4.  Ample Foods


6.  DYLN Inspired

7.  Gennev

8.  HelloMD

9.  Kaleidoscope Labs

10.  Liquid I.V.

11.  Lume Deodorant

12.  Maude

13.  Poplar

14.  Prima

15.  253 Organic


1.  Loot Crate

2.  Cratejoy

3.  Eaze

4.  KiwiCo

5.  Alpha Outpost

6.  Bespoke Post

7.  Elevate Accessories

8.  FringeSport

9.  Greetabl

10.  Groove Life

11.  Healthy Bees

12.  Litographs

13.  Moment

14.  Myro

15.  OpenSea

16.  Printabowl

17.  Priority Bicycles

18.  The Sill

19.  Tower Paddle Boards

20.  Fanchest

Home and Appliance

1.  Casper

2.  Touch of Modern

3.  Chairish

4.  Parachute Home

5.  Artlifting

6.  Backdrop

7.  Barn & Willow

8.  Blackdove

9.  Buffy

10.  Clare

11.  Cleancult

12.  Dering Hall

13.  Dormify

14.  GlobeIn

15.  Great Jones

16.  iDro

17.  Kaiyo

18.  Mirror

19.  Outer

20.  Stikwood

21.  Suitely

22.  Thuma

23.  Year & Day

24.  Ruggable

25.  Tushy

Personal Care

1.  The Honest Company

2.  BeautyCounter

3.  Curology

4.  Eargo

5.  Follain

6.  Glossier

7.  Hims

8.  Athena Club

9.  Boxycharm

10.  By Humankind

11.  Cora

12.  Felix Gray

13.  Function of Beauty

14.  GLOW

15.  Kosas Cosmetics

16.  L.

17.  Modern Fertility

18.  NaturAll Club

19.  Public Goods

20.  Rael

21.  Thrive Causemetics Inc.

22.  Wander Beauty

23.  Winky Lux

24.  Youth To The People

25.  Act+Acre

26.  BioClarity

27.  Facetory

28.  Joylux

29.  LOLI Beauty

30.  Ogee

Pet Care

1.  Chewy

2.  Boxed

3.  Ollie

4.  PetPlate

5.  PupBox


"Brands that rely on old supply chains, have a smaller social footprint, and are costly and perhaps already losing retail market share, have the most to lose – or the most to gain, depending on how you react to the changes," says Sue Hogan, SVP Research and Analytics IAB. "Someone will take your category to the next level. It can be you, or a DTC founder. It all depends on how early or late you choose to react."

IAB 250 Brands to Watch in 2020 are founded after 2010 in the U.S. After scraping the web to create a database of DTCs, additional data is aggregated using multiple sources, including Rival IQ for social footprint and velocity. IAB uses a weighted formula to create indices to rank Economic Efficiency (e.g., Revenue; # Employees); Financial Confidence (e.g., Revenue; Funding; Partners; Max Valuation); and social metrics. Companies are ranked by categories for presentation purposes.

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership is comprised of more than 650 leading media companies, brands, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns. The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

Cision View original content to download multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/iab-250-brands-to-watch-identifies-the-most-disruptive-us-direct-to-consumer-brands-and-services-301002231.html

SOURCE Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

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