Consumer products company JML has seen its direct to consumer (D2C) sales more than double, rising by 118% year on year, across 2020, as consumers change their shopping habits.
Online sales, mainly on the company’s website JMLdirect.com, though also via e-retailers such as Amazon, was the fastest growing channel in the last quarter. Call centre volumes also increased by 22% as more shoppers chose to order by phone.
Recent investments have also contributed to the sales increase, says the brand. JML has invested in in-house ecommerce and digital marketing capability, a new company-wide Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, state of the art Customer Relationship Management (CRM), an upgraded web platform and remote working technologies, which management believes puts the company in a strong position to capitalise on rapidly evolving shopper behaviour.
JML has also attributed the rise in D2C to a sustained media spend throughout the lockdown – including investment in “3 minute media” – at a time when many rivals were cutting back, ensuring that the brand remained in the front of consumers’ minds and which the company believes contributed towards increased call centre volume and overall improved performance.
Bricks and mortar sales, however, have not been as hard hit by this shift, showing recovery in August driving sales up by 20% on last year.
Bricks and mortar revenues through JML’s stockists, such as ASDA, Boots, Wilko and Tesco, rebounded swiftly from the impact of the pandemic. JML retail sales have consistently increased since April 2020 and in recent weeks have exceeded the same period last year, with August up 20% on 2019. At the same time, JML’s direct operation has continued to maintain momentum and has not seen signs of cannibalisation.
Finally, many of the company’s distribution partners in over 50 countries have also experienced a growing appetite for JML’s products during the pandemic, initially from shoppers ordering from home, but increasingly through retail stores as well.
Ken Daly, CEO of JML, comments: “JML is cautiously optimistic about the remainder of the year. The company is launching around 20 new products, all aimed at consumers who are spending more time at home. Our management believe that gifting during the all-important Christmas period will have a bigger focus for shoppers than is normally the case, and JML’s competitively priced and innovative products that make everyday life easier will be highly attractive, particularly as household budgets will likely still be constrained.”
JML’s confidence is backed up by a survey from EY that suggests that shoppers are increasingly looking for own-brand goods. It finds that 62% of consumers would consider own-brand home and household care products, compared to 49% globally. Within beauty and personal care, this figure is 43% (UK consumers), compared to 41% globally. Brand preference is highest in alcoholic beverages where only 37% of UK consumers say they are willing to purchase own-brand products. However, this is significantly higher than the global average of 22%.