Deciphering the zeitgeist

A blog by Scott Taylor

Insights on emerging patterns, every Friday.

Deciphering the zeitgeist

A blog by Scott Taylor

Insights on emerging patterns, every Friday.

Deciphering the zeitgeist

A blog by Scott Taylor

Insights on emerging patterns, every Friday.

Welcome back to the second 'This week's trends' post, where we uncover the hidden gems and surprising shifts across the landscape of solopreneurs, startups, venture capital, and the economy.

Let's explore the most intriguing trends that caught our eye this week:

🖊️ AI writing tools are the new secret weapons for content creators, with lex.page, writingmate.ai, and draft ai leading the charge.

🎯 Brands are unlocking the power of micro and nano influencers to tap into their fiercely loyal and highly targeted audiences.

💻 Boilerplate mania in the solopreneur space. Everyone seems to be launching a boilerplate, and some people are getting upset by this. A boilerplate is a pre-built code or template that you can use to quickly create an MVP for your idea.

💰 Acquire.com had an interesting listing this week: Brand of earplugs that help the partners of 37 million snorers in the USA sleep through the night. TTM Revenue: $922k, TTM Profit: $275k, Asking Price: $360k.

🌿 The longevity space is shedding its nerdy image and becoming the cool kid on the block, fueling a booming anti-aging market.

🧔 Men are increasingly seeking to maintain a youthful look for work and personal life. Providing a business opportunity in high-end, discreet men's hair transplants, Botox, and other treatments

🌍 Travel eSIMs are the new globe-trotting essential, allowing users to connect like locals without the hassle of swapping SIM cards or paying sky-high roaming fees.

🧠 ADHD supplements are taking TikTok and Reddit by storm, with a staggering 33.9B lifetime views and 1.8M subscribers, respectively.


Direct to consumer deep-dive

This week Wayflyer, along with Iris Finance analyzed 7000 brands and $2.5B of Q1 Gross Merchandise Value across 9 industries, full report here.

— — —

Overall direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue grew by an average of 4% in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. The Animal & Pets sector saw the highest growth at 21%, followed by Health at 16%.

Best-in-class Beauty brands achieved an exceptional 70% revenue growth in Q1 and boast the highest gross margins at 74%. They also have the lowest customer acquisition cost (CAC) at just $20.40.

Food & Beverage brands are becoming increasingly reliant on existing customers, with 57% of Q1 sales coming from repeat buyers. The best brands see a high 3.0x annual purchase frequency.

Home & Garden brands struggled the most, with only 1.5% growth. However, they enjoy the highest average order value (AOV) at $185 and the most favorable CAC:AOV ratio, with CAC being only 23% of AOV.

Health brands have the highest gross margin across categories at 75% and grow rapidly, with the best brands achieving 49% growth in Q1. However, they face intense competition, resulting in the highest CAC as a percentage of AOV at 50%.

Electronics brands compensate for a low 1.3x annual purchase frequency with a high 63% gross margin and 41% contribution margin. The best brands grew 39% in Q1 with a $71 AOV.

Diving into some of the trends a bit more:

Apparel: Gross Margin Focus - Apparel brands should prioritize maintaining high gross margins (69% for best-in-class) to ensure profitability.

Pets: LTV up - Pet brands are seeing increased customer lifetime value due to high retention rates and purchase frequency (8x over 12 months for best-in-class).

Food/Bev: DTC shift - Food & Beverage brands are shifting focus to direct-to-consumer sales, with 57% of revenue coming from repeat customers.

Home/Garden: AOV growth - Home & Garden brands are experiencing growth in average order value ($185 industry average, $417 for best-in-class).

Beauty/Health: Drive purchase frequency - Top-performing Beauty and Health brands drive profitability by encouraging high purchase frequency (2.5x and 3x annually, respectively).

Electronics: LTV down - Electronics brands are facing challenges in maintaining customer lifetime value due to low purchase frequency (1.3x annually for best-in-class).

Toys/Games: Viral impact - Successful Toys & Games brands leverage the viral nature of their products to achieve rapid sales growth in their massive target market.


Podcasts

Marc & Ben on launching with AI (link)

  • Startups should plan for foundation models to improve drastically. Focus on specific domains, architectures, speeds, and integrations to differentiate from big tech.

  • Expect both increased and decreased costs for AI startups. Prepare for potential overfunding and speculation, but also efficiency gains.

  • Don't overestimate the value of proprietary data for AI. Prioritise using your data in your own AI systems for competitive advantage.

  • Think of AI as an evolution of computing itself, not just a connectedness layer. Plan for an eventual broad spectrum of AI models and capabilities.

  • Embrace the adventure and invention of the AI boom, but be prepared for a potential bust. This cycle is typical of game-changing technologies.

  • Push back against efforts to make AI closed and proprietary. Advocate for openness to enable more innovation and competition.


Scott Galloway’s Advice To Make Millions In Your 30s & 40s (link)

  • Follow your talent, not just your passion. Find what you're good at and develop mastery in an industry with high employment rates and earning potential.

  • Get to a big city while you're young to surround yourself with ambitious, successful people. Opportunity is a function of density, and cities elevate your game.

  • Work really hard in your 30s and 40s, even if it means sacrificing some balance. Achieving wealth and influence often requires going all-in on your career for a period of time.

  • Develop a savings muscle early on. Focus on spending less than you make and start investing your savings in diversified assets. Time and compound growth are powerful allies.

  • Don't get caught up chasing more money and promotions forever. Once you achieve a level of financial security, lean into relationships and enjoying life. Time goes by faster than you think.

  • The formula for wealth is: focus + stoicism × time × diversification. Find something you can be great at, stay disciplined, invest early and often, and let time work its magic.


How To Market and Storytell In The Social Media World with GaryVee (link)

  • Prioritize creative quality over everything else. Craft platform-native content that immediately captures attention and delivers value.

  • Simplify briefs to inspire, not confuse. Spend more time developing clear, motivating briefs that empower young creatives.

  • Utilize consumer insights to make content that resonates. Continuously learn what appeals to your audience on each platform.

  • Recognize the enduring impact of social creative. Treat each asset, even shorts, as an important brand moment.

  • Embrace the power of video storytelling, especially on YouTube. Lead with ideas and video rather than defaulting to TV.

  • Be bold and put more work out there. Leverage real-time social feedback to rapidly improve content rather than getting stuck in analysis paralysis.


More interesting posts

  • "I studied how 7 Founders found their first 100 customers for their businesses. Summarizing it here!" (Link)

  • "Tools/Tips for working through the Validation Phase" (Link)

  • "What is something that I can sell at a beach that people would realistically buy?" (Link)

  • "Side hustle as an introvert?" (Link)

Image of…

← Back home, to find more trends!

Welcome back to the second 'This week's trends' post, where we uncover the hidden gems and surprising shifts across the landscape of solopreneurs, startups, venture capital, and the economy.

Let's explore the most intriguing trends that caught our eye this week:

🖊️ AI writing tools are the new secret weapons for content creators, with lex.page, writingmate.ai, and draft ai leading the charge.

🎯 Brands are unlocking the power of micro and nano influencers to tap into their fiercely loyal and highly targeted audiences.

💻 Boilerplate mania in the solopreneur space. Everyone seems to be launching a boilerplate, and some people are getting upset by this. A boilerplate is a pre-built code or template that you can use to quickly create an MVP for your idea.

💰 Acquire.com had an interesting listing this week: Brand of earplugs that help the partners of 37 million snorers in the USA sleep through the night. TTM Revenue: $922k, TTM Profit: $275k, Asking Price: $360k.

🌿 The longevity space is shedding its nerdy image and becoming the cool kid on the block, fueling a booming anti-aging market.

🧔 Men are increasingly seeking to maintain a youthful look for work and personal life. Providing a business opportunity in high-end, discreet men's hair transplants, Botox, and other treatments

🌍 Travel eSIMs are the new globe-trotting essential, allowing users to connect like locals without the hassle of swapping SIM cards or paying sky-high roaming fees.

🧠 ADHD supplements are taking TikTok and Reddit by storm, with a staggering 33.9B lifetime views and 1.8M subscribers, respectively.


Direct to consumer deep-dive

This week Wayflyer, along with Iris Finance analyzed 7000 brands and $2.5B of Q1 Gross Merchandise Value across 9 industries, full report here.

— — —

Overall direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue grew by an average of 4% in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. The Animal & Pets sector saw the highest growth at 21%, followed by Health at 16%.

Best-in-class Beauty brands achieved an exceptional 70% revenue growth in Q1 and boast the highest gross margins at 74%. They also have the lowest customer acquisition cost (CAC) at just $20.40.

Food & Beverage brands are becoming increasingly reliant on existing customers, with 57% of Q1 sales coming from repeat buyers. The best brands see a high 3.0x annual purchase frequency.

Home & Garden brands struggled the most, with only 1.5% growth. However, they enjoy the highest average order value (AOV) at $185 and the most favorable CAC:AOV ratio, with CAC being only 23% of AOV.

Health brands have the highest gross margin across categories at 75% and grow rapidly, with the best brands achieving 49% growth in Q1. However, they face intense competition, resulting in the highest CAC as a percentage of AOV at 50%.

Electronics brands compensate for a low 1.3x annual purchase frequency with a high 63% gross margin and 41% contribution margin. The best brands grew 39% in Q1 with a $71 AOV.

Diving into some of the trends a bit more:

Apparel: Gross Margin Focus - Apparel brands should prioritize maintaining high gross margins (69% for best-in-class) to ensure profitability.

Pets: LTV up - Pet brands are seeing increased customer lifetime value due to high retention rates and purchase frequency (8x over 12 months for best-in-class).

Food/Bev: DTC shift - Food & Beverage brands are shifting focus to direct-to-consumer sales, with 57% of revenue coming from repeat customers.

Home/Garden: AOV growth - Home & Garden brands are experiencing growth in average order value ($185 industry average, $417 for best-in-class).

Beauty/Health: Drive purchase frequency - Top-performing Beauty and Health brands drive profitability by encouraging high purchase frequency (2.5x and 3x annually, respectively).

Electronics: LTV down - Electronics brands are facing challenges in maintaining customer lifetime value due to low purchase frequency (1.3x annually for best-in-class).

Toys/Games: Viral impact - Successful Toys & Games brands leverage the viral nature of their products to achieve rapid sales growth in their massive target market.


Podcasts

Marc & Ben on launching with AI (link)

  • Startups should plan for foundation models to improve drastically. Focus on specific domains, architectures, speeds, and integrations to differentiate from big tech.

  • Expect both increased and decreased costs for AI startups. Prepare for potential overfunding and speculation, but also efficiency gains.

  • Don't overestimate the value of proprietary data for AI. Prioritise using your data in your own AI systems for competitive advantage.

  • Think of AI as an evolution of computing itself, not just a connectedness layer. Plan for an eventual broad spectrum of AI models and capabilities.

  • Embrace the adventure and invention of the AI boom, but be prepared for a potential bust. This cycle is typical of game-changing technologies.

  • Push back against efforts to make AI closed and proprietary. Advocate for openness to enable more innovation and competition.


Scott Galloway’s Advice To Make Millions In Your 30s & 40s (link)

  • Follow your talent, not just your passion. Find what you're good at and develop mastery in an industry with high employment rates and earning potential.

  • Get to a big city while you're young to surround yourself with ambitious, successful people. Opportunity is a function of density, and cities elevate your game.

  • Work really hard in your 30s and 40s, even if it means sacrificing some balance. Achieving wealth and influence often requires going all-in on your career for a period of time.

  • Develop a savings muscle early on. Focus on spending less than you make and start investing your savings in diversified assets. Time and compound growth are powerful allies.

  • Don't get caught up chasing more money and promotions forever. Once you achieve a level of financial security, lean into relationships and enjoying life. Time goes by faster than you think.

  • The formula for wealth is: focus + stoicism × time × diversification. Find something you can be great at, stay disciplined, invest early and often, and let time work its magic.


How To Market and Storytell In The Social Media World with GaryVee (link)

  • Prioritize creative quality over everything else. Craft platform-native content that immediately captures attention and delivers value.

  • Simplify briefs to inspire, not confuse. Spend more time developing clear, motivating briefs that empower young creatives.

  • Utilize consumer insights to make content that resonates. Continuously learn what appeals to your audience on each platform.

  • Recognize the enduring impact of social creative. Treat each asset, even shorts, as an important brand moment.

  • Embrace the power of video storytelling, especially on YouTube. Lead with ideas and video rather than defaulting to TV.

  • Be bold and put more work out there. Leverage real-time social feedback to rapidly improve content rather than getting stuck in analysis paralysis.


More interesting posts

  • "I studied how 7 Founders found their first 100 customers for their businesses. Summarizing it here!" (Link)

  • "Tools/Tips for working through the Validation Phase" (Link)

  • "What is something that I can sell at a beach that people would realistically buy?" (Link)

  • "Side hustle as an introvert?" (Link)

Image of…

← Back home, to find more trends!

Welcome back to the second 'This week's trends' post, where we uncover the hidden gems and surprising shifts across the landscape of solopreneurs, startups, venture capital, and the economy.

Let's explore the most intriguing trends that caught our eye this week:

🖊️ AI writing tools are the new secret weapons for content creators, with lex.page, writingmate.ai, and draft ai leading the charge.

🎯 Brands are unlocking the power of micro and nano influencers to tap into their fiercely loyal and highly targeted audiences.

💻 Boilerplate mania in the solopreneur space. Everyone seems to be launching a boilerplate, and some people are getting upset by this. A boilerplate is a pre-built code or template that you can use to quickly create an MVP for your idea.

💰 Acquire.com had an interesting listing this week: Brand of earplugs that help the partners of 37 million snorers in the USA sleep through the night. TTM Revenue: $922k, TTM Profit: $275k, Asking Price: $360k.

🌿 The longevity space is shedding its nerdy image and becoming the cool kid on the block, fueling a booming anti-aging market.

🧔 Men are increasingly seeking to maintain a youthful look for work and personal life. Providing a business opportunity in high-end, discreet men's hair transplants, Botox, and other treatments

🌍 Travel eSIMs are the new globe-trotting essential, allowing users to connect like locals without the hassle of swapping SIM cards or paying sky-high roaming fees.

🧠 ADHD supplements are taking TikTok and Reddit by storm, with a staggering 33.9B lifetime views and 1.8M subscribers, respectively.


Direct to consumer deep-dive

This week Wayflyer, along with Iris Finance analyzed 7000 brands and $2.5B of Q1 Gross Merchandise Value across 9 industries, full report here.

— — —

Overall direct-to-consumer (DTC) revenue grew by an average of 4% in Q1 2024 compared to Q1 2023. The Animal & Pets sector saw the highest growth at 21%, followed by Health at 16%.

Best-in-class Beauty brands achieved an exceptional 70% revenue growth in Q1 and boast the highest gross margins at 74%. They also have the lowest customer acquisition cost (CAC) at just $20.40.

Food & Beverage brands are becoming increasingly reliant on existing customers, with 57% of Q1 sales coming from repeat buyers. The best brands see a high 3.0x annual purchase frequency.

Home & Garden brands struggled the most, with only 1.5% growth. However, they enjoy the highest average order value (AOV) at $185 and the most favorable CAC:AOV ratio, with CAC being only 23% of AOV.

Health brands have the highest gross margin across categories at 75% and grow rapidly, with the best brands achieving 49% growth in Q1. However, they face intense competition, resulting in the highest CAC as a percentage of AOV at 50%.

Electronics brands compensate for a low 1.3x annual purchase frequency with a high 63% gross margin and 41% contribution margin. The best brands grew 39% in Q1 with a $71 AOV.

Diving into some of the trends a bit more:

Apparel: Gross Margin Focus - Apparel brands should prioritize maintaining high gross margins (69% for best-in-class) to ensure profitability.

Pets: LTV up - Pet brands are seeing increased customer lifetime value due to high retention rates and purchase frequency (8x over 12 months for best-in-class).

Food/Bev: DTC shift - Food & Beverage brands are shifting focus to direct-to-consumer sales, with 57% of revenue coming from repeat customers.

Home/Garden: AOV growth - Home & Garden brands are experiencing growth in average order value ($185 industry average, $417 for best-in-class).

Beauty/Health: Drive purchase frequency - Top-performing Beauty and Health brands drive profitability by encouraging high purchase frequency (2.5x and 3x annually, respectively).

Electronics: LTV down - Electronics brands are facing challenges in maintaining customer lifetime value due to low purchase frequency (1.3x annually for best-in-class).

Toys/Games: Viral impact - Successful Toys & Games brands leverage the viral nature of their products to achieve rapid sales growth in their massive target market.


Podcasts

Marc & Ben on launching with AI (link)

  • Startups should plan for foundation models to improve drastically. Focus on specific domains, architectures, speeds, and integrations to differentiate from big tech.

  • Expect both increased and decreased costs for AI startups. Prepare for potential overfunding and speculation, but also efficiency gains.

  • Don't overestimate the value of proprietary data for AI. Prioritise using your data in your own AI systems for competitive advantage.

  • Think of AI as an evolution of computing itself, not just a connectedness layer. Plan for an eventual broad spectrum of AI models and capabilities.

  • Embrace the adventure and invention of the AI boom, but be prepared for a potential bust. This cycle is typical of game-changing technologies.

  • Push back against efforts to make AI closed and proprietary. Advocate for openness to enable more innovation and competition.


Scott Galloway’s Advice To Make Millions In Your 30s & 40s (link)

  • Follow your talent, not just your passion. Find what you're good at and develop mastery in an industry with high employment rates and earning potential.

  • Get to a big city while you're young to surround yourself with ambitious, successful people. Opportunity is a function of density, and cities elevate your game.

  • Work really hard in your 30s and 40s, even if it means sacrificing some balance. Achieving wealth and influence often requires going all-in on your career for a period of time.

  • Develop a savings muscle early on. Focus on spending less than you make and start investing your savings in diversified assets. Time and compound growth are powerful allies.

  • Don't get caught up chasing more money and promotions forever. Once you achieve a level of financial security, lean into relationships and enjoying life. Time goes by faster than you think.

  • The formula for wealth is: focus + stoicism × time × diversification. Find something you can be great at, stay disciplined, invest early and often, and let time work its magic.


How To Market and Storytell In The Social Media World with GaryVee (link)

  • Prioritize creative quality over everything else. Craft platform-native content that immediately captures attention and delivers value.

  • Simplify briefs to inspire, not confuse. Spend more time developing clear, motivating briefs that empower young creatives.

  • Utilize consumer insights to make content that resonates. Continuously learn what appeals to your audience on each platform.

  • Recognize the enduring impact of social creative. Treat each asset, even shorts, as an important brand moment.

  • Embrace the power of video storytelling, especially on YouTube. Lead with ideas and video rather than defaulting to TV.

  • Be bold and put more work out there. Leverage real-time social feedback to rapidly improve content rather than getting stuck in analysis paralysis.


More interesting posts

  • "I studied how 7 Founders found their first 100 customers for their businesses. Summarizing it here!" (Link)

  • "Tools/Tips for working through the Validation Phase" (Link)

  • "What is something that I can sell at a beach that people would realistically buy?" (Link)

  • "Side hustle as an introvert?" (Link)

Image of…

← Back home, to find more trends!