Direct-to-consumer business models are an interesting approach adopted by many companies in order to increase margins and create a strong sense of consumer loyalty. The process of eliminating wholesalers, distributors and retailers, as well as their share of margins in the value chain, is not easy and requires heavy marketing and branding efforts, especially through online media. I recently came across Bruush Oral Care Inc. (BRSH, Financial), a newly listed company within the electric toothbrush space that is adopting this direct-to-consumer strategy and adding a subscription model in order to build a sense of consumer loyalty.
Let us take a closer look at its business and evaluate its stock as an investment prospect.
Bruush Oral Care’s primary product offering is an electric toothbrush, which costs around $79 and comes with brush heads, magnetic charging stands, travel cases, USB power adapters and rechargeable batteries. The company runs a direct-to-consumer subscription model where a fee of $18 ensures that subscribers have three toothbrush heads delivered to their doorstep every six months.
Currently, Bruush is primarily focused on the North American market, where consumers can purchase its high-end electric toothbrushes at a highly competitive price compared to incumbents like Procer & Gamble Co's (PG, Financial) Oral-B. The Toronto, Ontario-based company also plans to introduce a number of other oral care products, such as dental floss, mouthwash, toothpaste and whitening pens, to diversify its product line.
Core value proposition
With its relatively low price point, Bruush is looking to make the process of switching from manual to electric brushes more appealing. The company has a strong market opportunity in a duopolistic electric toothbrush market dominated by P&G and Koninklijke Philips NV (PHG, Financial).
Using a direct-to-consumer business model, the company is looking to eliminate the need for wholesalers and retailers while maximizing its own margins by offering consumers a premium electric toothbrush at a relatively lower cost. Bruush sources its toothbrushes from China and is ensuring that the manufactured product comes with the highest level of cutting-edge technology, including features such as sonic technology that produces over 31,000 brush strokes per minute, six different cleaning modes and a smart timer that pauses after every 30 seconds to remind the user to move the toothbrush to a different section of their mouth. Additionally, the brush has a battery that can be recharged and lasts up to four weeks.
Currently, Bruush offers its brushes in three standard colors of black, white and pink. It also releases trend-driven seasonal hues from time to time.
Sales strategy to expand subscriber base
Bruush is a small company with a base of around 28,000 subscribers for its electric toothbrush. The company's trailing 12-month revenue is around $2.62 million with a healthy gross margin of more than 50%, which gives management a lot of leeway to spend on branding.
The company is looking to distinguish itself from the competition by developing a distinct and personable brand identity that appeals to a young audience, using vibrant colors and forceful expressions, supercharged content that aligns with its goal of shaking up the conventionally uninteresting oral care category and supercharged content production.
Further, Bruush is spending heavily on marketing campaigns and social media advertisements (around $6.66 million in the form of selling, general and administrative expenses for the trailing 12-month period). While this is delaying the company reaching break-even and was a key factor in management raising the latest round of funding to list on the Nasdaq, a strong brand identity is likely to create sustainable growth and minimize churn in the long run.
Bruush also has a celebrity endorsement from Kevin Hart, which should have a long-term effect on subscriptions.
The research of Prescient & Strategic Intelligence indicates the market for electric toothbrushes, which was valued at $2.7 billion in 2019, is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7% from 2020 to 2030 and reach $4.8 billion. Currently, this market is largely duopolistic in nature with Oral-B and Philips being the main incumbents. Their high level of premiumization in pricing has not only led to relatively slower adoption of electric toothbrushes, but has also led to smaller companies like Bruush entering this domain.
Some of the other incumbents that are looking to disrupt this electric toothbrush domain are Goby and Quip. However, these players are all providing a relatively lower-quality product with fewer features because they are charging a lower price for it. Bruush has positioned itself well in this market, delivering a feature-rich product at a lower price point.
Bruush debuted on the Nasdaq on Aug. 3. The stock is marginally below the $2 mark today, making its market capitalization around $14 million. The company is trading at a price-sales multiple of around 5, which is reasonable, but the top line is expected to scale rapidly given its marketing efforts. In my opinion, this should cause a spike in the share price after the company delivers a good set of results.
The company's recent fundraising is expected to drive growth in subscriber numbers, which are a source of recurring income. The company also has an option to export to markets outside of North America, where the competition is less fierce. There is also an upside from cross-selling its expected new products to existing subscribers. Overall, I am bullish on the stock and believe it could prove to be a good high-risk, high-return investment in the consumer staples domain.