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6 Marketing Tips for DTC Brands in a Shifting Economy

7 Min Read
by Ambur Cole

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the economy on a wild ride over the past two years, and the journey ahead is still looking…well, a bit turbulent. Budget cuts, layoffs, and distribution challenges have many brands feeling more than a little anxious about how the rest of 2022 will play out. 

But we’re here to let you in on a little secret: The world we’re navigating actually presents a real opportunity for strong, savvy marketers who adapt and thrive.

Are you one of those marketers, deciding to stay ahead of the curve even as other brands are shrinking? We hope so. In this post, we’ll identify consumer spending trends, then highlight how DTC brands can leverage these trends to gain market share and get a leg up against the competition.

Consumer Spending in 2022: 4 Trends

Before we dive into our tried and true tips for marketing through an economic shift, it’s important to understand how — and why — inflation is affecting consumer spending.

First, a bit of history: When the pandemic hit in 2020, consumers across the globe were initially wary of frivolous spending. As their job security, health, and overall well-being was at risk, economic activity essentially came to a dead halt. After just a few months, consumers quickly shifted their spending habits to build out home gyms and offices. Their spending on durable goods increased by $103 billion in 2020, while spending on services dropped $556 billion during the same year.

Spending continued to rise steadily in 2021, as consumers used their savings to start dipping their toes back into international travel, going to the movies, eating out, and other types of entertainment that had been on hold for more than a year. But in 2022, the tides of consumer spending have shifted once again. 

Here’s how rising inflation rates and other economic changes are affecting consumer spending today.


Despite inflation increasing 8.5% in March 2022 alone, consumers are still willing to fork over money for certain goods and services. After all, U.S. consumers have $2.8 trillion more in savings than they had before the pandemic, thanks to all the time spent at home over the past two years. Still, consumers are spending more money with less to show for it, as prices continue to rise with inflation.


Recent surveys by McKinsey indicate that almost 40% of US consumers have tried new brands and products since the pandemic began. Many of these consumers opted to try something new because their go-to brand was out of stock, while others wanted to save money or find the best promotion.


Dollar Tree may have increased its prices by 25% in 2022, but the popular discount store is still an enticing option for American consumers on a tight budget. Similarly, foot traffic at Dollar General is up 32% since 2019, beating out even big box behemoths like Walmart.


Just as discount stores are trending, affordable private-label brands are gaining popularity. In a survey of U.S. adults, 89.7% said they switched from a name brand to a private-label brand because it provided greater value. Consumers are also drawn to private-label brands for a wider assortment of options, membership rewards, or because a name brand wasn’t available.

6 Tips for DTC Brands to Adapt and Thrive in a Shifting Economy

If consumers are less brand loyal during times like these, it means some brands will be losing business. But here’s the flip side: It also means consumers are more open to trying out new brands — as long as those brands do a great job of showcasing their value. 

So how can you position your brand in a way that reels in those brand-hopping customers? The answer is multi-faceted: Strong branding, a stellar customer experience, advertising optimization, and increased efficiency can all work together to help you come out on top during economic shifts.

While other brands are lamenting supply chain issues, keep your head down and implement six strategies that put your brand front-and-center with open-minded consumers.


A shifting economy presents an incredible chance to double-down on your branding. What makes your product unique? Why do you stand out from your competitors? What problem(s) do you solve? Create branded messages that appeal to your consumers’ emotions and build a strong connection, and they’ll be more likely to ditch their old brand for yours.


In 2022, customer experience matters more than ever. And that experience doesn’t start when the customer visits your website — or end when they check out. Instead, brands need to consider the entire customer journey, from the moment of brand awareness to brand loyalty and advocacy. 

Focusing on a customer-centric, streamlined, omnichannel experience when the economy is shifting can have a serious payoff: Research shows that an improved customer experience increases revenue 2-7% and profitability by 1-2%.


A recent Salesforce study revealed that 88% of consumers believe trust is more important in “times of change.” Those same consumers aren’t afraid to ditch a brand if they lose trust, and that trust can be earned (or lost) with every interaction.

So how can you position your brand as the one consumers can trust? By being transparent, treating employees well, showing empathy, and by creating personalized experiences that your customers value. Marketers can leverage AI to deliver relevant content at the right time — but keep in mind that poor use of AI and personalization can have an opposite effect.


Today’s most successful brands use data-driven marketing strategies to fuel growth and customer loyalty. And in times of change, data and analytics become more important than ever.

Use post-campaign data and insights to constantly learn from and improve your marketing strategies. As you hone in on the most effective targeting and messaging, you’ll optimize your performance and appeal to consumers who are seeking greater value and a fresh perspective.


It’s important to remember that not all consumers behave the same when the world is shifting around us. While some people might drastically reduce spending, others may be less aggressive about cutting back. Still others may feel secure about their economic status, and even carry on spending as usual. By tailoring your marketing messages to each of these unique groups, you’ll have a higher chance of resonating with more consumers. 

Likewise, it’s wise to sort messages about your products and services into one of four groups: essentials, indulgences, purchases that can be postponed, and unjustified purchases. Once you define where a product falls in these categories, you’ll have an easier time crafting a successful marketing campaign around the product.


When budgets are tight, it’s important to make the most of your spend by investing in campaigns that deliver a higher return on ad spend (ROAS). Channels like direct mail offer a proven approach for brands looking to acquire new, retarget interested, and/or increase LTV of existing customers.In fact, DTC brands leveraging direct mail benefit from 20% more reach than Facebook, 3x higher engagement than email, 70% greater brand recall than display, and greater personalization than programmatic advertising.

Unlock the Power of Direct Mail With Postie

No one can say for certain what the future holds for all of us. And though a shifting economy can put a brand’s performance at risk, it doesn’t have to. For the smartest brands, change is a chance to capture new audiences and grow existing customer relationships (and thus LTV) through omni-channel experiences.

If you’re ready to win new customers and outpace your competitors, then it’s time to unlock the power of direct mail. With Postie, you can run powerful direct mail campaigns just as quickly and easily as you run digital ads — whether you’re prospecting, retargeting, or reengaging. Request a demo today to learn how Postie delivers an average ROAS of 14x on direct mail campaigns for winning DTC brands.

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