The Study

Law of Linear Commerce

For the brands that are most suited to the modern retail economy: media and commerce operations combine to optimize for audience and conversion. This is the efficient path for sustained growth, retention, and profitability.

Bifurcation and New Luxury

This era has begun to reveal sharp contrasts in how Americans approach the consumption of goods and services. Net consumption continues to grow despite a catastrophic number of store closures. Some in retail and media are quietly recognizing that the most competitive approach to growth is the pursuit of the modern luxury consumer – a cohort that seems to be invulnerable to these shifts.

Malls and Over-Retail

Between 1955 and 1975, shopping mall development exploded. Though, development was no longer tied to demand. Many were built as extractable retail assets only to be flipped for massive profits. This meant that development was no longer tied to population growth. Today, multiple malls and shopping centers exist for every small suburb in America, designed and constructed with no expectation to achieve sustainable demand.

H.E.N.R.Y and Brand Sociology

The HENRYs are advancers, not necessarily those who have cleared the wealth bar to America’s elite class. Unlike the traditional middle-class, HENRYs have the inclination to believe that they are on the path to the liquidity. A liquidity and safety net that is necessary for investing in long-term assets. HENRY is a transitional cohort, not a class. A cohort that can no longer be ignored.

Digitally Native Brands

The history of digitally native vertical brand (DNVB) goes back 14 years. However, the framing of the industry has evolved and so has its terminology. Appointed by Bonobos’ founder and current Walmart executive Andy Dunn in 2016, the DNVB acronym has given way to a simpler version: “DTC” or direct-to-consumer. But despite a shift in terminology, Dunn's term has appropriately defined a generation of internet-first retailers.

The "DTC-Fication" of Economies

The United States once led in the effort to digitize its economy. Today, we trail China by a factor of three. Our neglect may have damning consequences without a correction in our course. The direct-to-consumer industry can be myopic, even often worth ignoring. But studying DTC as a philosophy for modernization can be a competitive advantage for entire economies. For a moment, jettison words like luxe, digitally native, lifestyle, or even HENRY – they are symptoms of a shift. The focus here is on the core of that shift.

The New Infrastructure

I believe that we must begin viewing investments into our eCommerce infrastructure no differently than our predecessors viewed their investments into roads, bridges, and tunnels. This may sound grandiose until you consider how the rest of the digital and physical economies will depend on that infrastructure.

Audiences and Communities

Product-based communities have augmented many consumers’ lives, influencing their senses of belonging. In this way, America has not become non-religious. Rather, we've spent the last several decades forging new communities. These types of communities don’t show up in political polls. We believe in brands.