Welcome to The Week in Direct-to-Consumer, a weekly round-up for marketers from Quad Insights that sums up the latest need-to-know news about the DTC industry.

Florida (mostly) outlaws DTC car sales

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis banned auto manufacturers from selling directly to consumers in the Sunshine State by signing into law HB 637, which stipulates that car brands must rely on traditional franchised dealerships to sell their vehicles. However, there is one key exemption written into the law, as Collin Velez of CBT News explains: “The legislation allows electric vehicle companies to continue selling to consumers without third-party retailers, meaning Tesla, and possibly smaller brands such as Rivian, Lucid and Polestar, will be allowed to operate in the state as normal.”

Related coverage:

“New Florida Law Bans Direct-To-Consumer Car Sales, Protects Dealer Markups” (The Drive)

How DTC brands are rethinking merchandising

The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated brands’ adoption of direct-to-consumer strategies, but with the world largely “back to normal” (whatever that means), those same marketers have been revisiting their brick-and-mortar strategies and weighing customers’ desires to have a physical interaction with the products they buy. Forbes’ Walter Loeb recently sat down with agency Belardi Wong’s Polly Wong, who explains how “retailers’ growth in the post-pandemic era [is] quite different from how they managed business in the pandemic period.” Loeb and Wong also jointly note that while DTC growth has slowed overall, sales are still robust compared to 2021, with the apparel and home decor verticals both enjoying particularly strong showings in May.

Related coverage:

“Kim Kardashian’s Skims brand lands in London for first European pop-up” (The Drum)

“Nike is mending relationships with retailers as more brands recognize the constraints of direct-to-consumer models” (Insider)

Chewy stock rises as the company eyes Canada

Online petcare retailer Chewy has been on a tear lately, with its stock (CHWY) up 15 percent compared to a month ago and trading at around $40 per share this morning. That surge is due in part to Chewy’s announcement earlier this month that it’s planning its first international venture with a foray into the Canadian market in the coming months, which prompted at least four brokerages to raise their CHWY price target, according to Reuters. On Wednesday, the Relative Strength (RS) Rating of Chewy stock was upgraded from 64 to 75, per Investor’s Business Daily.

A look at this year’s DTC acquisitions so far

We’re nearly halfway through 2023, and while overall merger and acquisition activity has dipped globally — down 48% year-over-year in the first quarter, according to data from Dealogic — a number of notable deals have nevertheless been signed in the direct-to-consumer space, per Retail Dive. Some of the biggest moves: retail behemoth Walmart sold off plus-size brand Eloquii and menswear company Bonobos; L’Oréal bought luxury brand Aesop; and the widely anticipated Birchbox acquisition by Retention Brands came to fruition.

Further reading

Thank you for reading this week’s edition of The Week in Direct-to-Consumer. We’ll be back next Friday with more.