Health brings +143% sales uplift for online DTC brands

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As the pandemic brought upon multiple lockdowns, online consumer demand for DTC health supplements surged throughout 2021 via partner marketing.

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Key takeaways 

  • 143% increase in direct to consumer (DTC) health product sales 
  • £7m spent by online health brands via the affiliate channel 
  • 8% increase in the average order value (AOV) for health products 
  • £14.90 return on investment for affiliate activity in the health product market 
  • 136k customer visits (clicks) to health product brands, with a 2.18% conversion rate
  • 132% increase in online sales from Content & Blogger affiliates 

When life presents a pandemic, keep calm and exercise. Awin data indicates UK consumers sourced online health products, from protein shakes to health food supplement bars, as motivation to lead healthier and more balanced lifestyles throughout the pandemic. With experts warning of the risks to health from coronavirus and unprecedented UK lockdowns, many sought certainty and structure from virtual and at-home workouts. As shoppers were able to purchase almost anything and everything online, it’s not surprising to see the growth in direct-to-consumer (DTC) health product sales.  

Even now, as we emerge from the pandemic, the blend of in-gym and virtual at-home workouts is expected to sustain, with the majority of fitness enthusiasts favouring a 60:40 split between live and digital exercise. 

Exponential sales surge 

Data tracked on the Awin network shows that health product sales increased +143% year-on-year (YoY) with over £115m being spent by customers on DTC health product retailers in 2021. Health product brands saw an immediate spike in April-2020, the first full month of UK lockdown, with sales increasing by +12% month-on-month (MoM). February 2021 witnessed the largest sales growth at +63% following the announcement of a third lockdown in January. Sales have since continued to grow YoY, despite the reopening of gyms, leisure centres and other fitness facilities. In April-2021, as the UK emerged from of a period of intense lockdown restrictions, sales continued to trend above the prior year by +35%.  

Line graph showing YoY subscription growth

The surge in online sales also coincides with an increase in average spend per transaction. In 2020, the average order value (AOV) for health products was £37, increasing to £40 by the end of 2021, with the highest AOV recorded during spring and summer at £42. This increase in both sales and spend for health products signifies a shift in consumer attitudes towards lifestyle and wellbeing and foreshadows a strong consumer appetite beyond the pandemic.  

Content is King 

The largest growth in online health product performance was driven by Content & Blogger sites, witnessing +132% sales uplift YoY. Discount & Promotion publishers also saw a significant increase, recording +128% YoY and Cashback partners at +97% YoY. The remainder of the mix is made up from technology partners, comparison sites and ad networks. 

Bar chart showing YoY publisher split

The growth in Content & Blogger partners, including niche content sites, is testament to the digital-first strategy DTC brands have taken throughout the pandemic. Customers are happier to trust relatable and product-driven editorial sites and blogger recommendations when conducting health product research to inform their purchase decisions.  

For more information on health product trends, and how your brand can benefit from affiliate partner marketing, contact the Awin Client Partnerships team or get in touch here

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