Executive Briefing

Why there still haven’t been more billion-dollar acquisitions for direct-to-consumer commerce startups

Inside: Why Harry’s wants to buy your brand. Why two ex-Glossier execs stopped trying to create them. And how Facebook wants to eat it all.

Harry's founders Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider
Harry's founders Andy Katz-Mayfield and Jeff Raider / Courtesy Harry's

Almost five years after Unilever bought Dollar Shave Club for $1 billion, the deal still looks like an anomaly.

Despite a pandemic that accelerated the shift toward e-commerce, and continued market share shifts away from giant, legacy brands, there hasn’t been a billion-dollar-plus buying spree of direct-to-consumer e-commerce companies.

Why not?

Similar to when I wrote about this topic two years ago — one of the first articles in this publication — the strongest new consumer companies simply haven’t needed to sell themselves to cash out investors or fund operations. Warby Parker, Glossier, Allbirds, Everlane, and others have been able to raise capital on the private markets with sufficiently favorable terms.

But there are some other dynamics worth noting.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

I’m a longtime tech and business journalist, and I’m excited to focus my attention on how technology continues to profoundly change how things are created, experienced, bought, and sold. The New Consumer is supported entirely by your membership — join now to receive my reporting, analysis, and commentary directly in your inbox, via my twice-weekly, member-exclusive newsletter. Thanks in advance.

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