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Emerging Markets

Digitally-native brands make a name for themselves, grow 44.5 percent year-over-year

by Arye Zucker - November 27, 2018

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Does anyone buy that stuff splashed on Instagram and Facebook feeds? We wondered about that, too. So, we looked at eight brands for this post: Adore Me, Allbirds, Away, Everlane, Glossier, ModCloth, quip, and Thirdlove, and according to Rakuten Intelligence, buyer growth across these eight merchants is 44.5 percent.  


Adore Me and ModCloth are the only two brands to see year-over-year negative growth in buyers, with a 6.5 percent and a 23.3 percent drop respectively. The other six brands are up at least 45.3 percent in buyers.

51 percent of online buyers come from just three digitally-native brands

While the bottom three account for just a quarter of sales

Online buyers tend to buy across multiple digitally-native brands

It is no surprise that buyers of digitally-native brands hop across the aisle and buy from other digitally-native brands. In fact, every one of the brands we looked at have buyers who have purchased something from every other brand we studied. Adore Me has the most segmented buyers, as 88.3 percent bought Adore Me only (and not the other brands in the study), and of the remaining buyers, 98.1 percent bought from Adore Me and only one other merchant, by far the highest of any of the eight. Everlane has the least loyal buyers among the digitally-native brand buyers, with only 60.6 percent shopping exclusively with the retailer.


Away, a luggage company we have featured on this blog before, has the highest percentage of buyers who shop across digitally-native brands as a whole. Only 60.9 percent of Away buyers bought exclusively from Away (among these eight brands) and a group-low 87.6 percent of buyers bought from Away and one other brand. Just over 9 percent of Away buyers purchased from Away and two other merchants, and 3.3 percent bought from Away and four or more other merchants.

Away, Everlane, and Glossier share buyers with multiple brands

While Away buyers buy from fewer digitally-native brands

Interestingly, Adore Me and ThirdLove, two merchants that sell the same type of products, don’t have have much buyer overlap. Only 2 percent of Adore Me buyers also bought something from ThirdLove, translating to 4.1 percent of ThirdLove buyers also buying from Adore Me.

Digital Native brands hold their own against household names

All eight digitally-native brands account for at least 1 percent of the buyer share by brand in their respective categories. Maybe most surprising are ThirdLove and Adore Me, which account for 3 percent and 1.4 percent of the Undergarments & Shapewear buyer share/brand respectively. That puts ThirdLove just behind Calvin Klein, and ahead of brands likes Under Armour, Spanx, and MeUndies in terms of online buyer share. Adore Me’s stature is nothing to sneeze at either, as it finds itself neck-and-neck with Nike, and ahead of Wacoal and H&M online.


Away is a top-10 Luggage, Backpack, and Laptop Bag brand by buyer share, behind Samsonite by only .4 percent of share, and ahead of well-known luggage names like Tumi, American Tourister, and Kate Spade. Allbird - which just raised $50 million in Series C funding, it should be noted - has a buyer share of 1.7 percent, putting it ahead of Reebok and L.L.Bean, Everlane’s share of 1 percent puts it in the same company as Wrangler, Tory Burch, and Timberland, and Glossier’s 1.6 percent share puts it into a tie with Burt’s Bees, and ahead of NYX, Acuvue, and e.l.f Makeup. The real belle of the ball, though, is quip, whose online buyer share is at 5.2 percent, behind only giants like Sonicare, Crest, Colgate, and Oral-B, and ahead of the likes of Listerine, Tom’s of Maine, and Sensodyne.


“Virtually every brand that launches today imagines itself as a digitally-native brand,” says Ken Cassar, principal analyst and VP, strategy & insights, Rakuten Intelligence. “In the past, a new brand would strive for shelf space in Walmart’s brick and mortar aisles. Today, upstart brands start by selling directly to consumers online, and then consider a brick-and-mortar strategy down the road.”

About this data

With a panel of over 5.5 million online shoppers, Rakuten Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.


Rakuten Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Rakuten Intelligence can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.


Rakuten Intelligence gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time, which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.

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