Redbubble: Market Size, Product Quality and Customer Acquisition | In Practise

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Redbubble: Market Size, Product Quality and Customer Acquisition

Former Product Manager at Redbubble

Why is this interview interesting?

  • Redbubble user acquisition and challenges to build a brand
  • How Redbubble can penetrate the $300bn TAM
  • Moving from generic to more complex SKU's
  • Redbubble vs Etsy


Why is this company interesting?

Redbubble is an Australian-listed three-sided marketplace connecting individual artists, fulfilment partners, and customers. Artists upload unique designs and Redbubble partners with fulfillers to produce 'print-on-demand' (POD) products and ship to consumers.

Redbubble's competitive advantage lies in the 60m long tail of unique designs that drive organic traffic via SEO to customers looking for customised products. The flywheel starts with artists uploading designs, this unique content driving organic traffic which drives sales through the fulfilment network. As the fulfilment network scales, delivery time and cost declines which drives sales and the flywheel again.

Redbubble reminds us of Etsy in 2016; a marketplace with a unique and sticky supply side and a new CEO to focus the company on driving sales for sellers. RBL's 5-year revenue CAGR is +35% with gross margins over 40% and an estimated ~15% long term EBIT margins.


Executive Bio

Former Product Manager at Redbubble

The executive spent over 4 years at Redbubble as part of the extended leadership team across Strategy, Product, and Growth. She joined in 2014 to scale the supply side before working closely with the Search team to optimise customer acquisition. The executive worked closely with Former CEO Barry Newstead.Read more

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Interview Transcript

Disclaimer: This interview is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. In Practise is an independent publisher and all opinions expressed by guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of In Practise.

How would you describe the typical Redbubble customer in the early days?

The early days customer was a geek buying t-shirts. I do not mean computer geek, but someone who is into a thing and wants to express that, so they put it on a t-shirt.

Is the age demographic much younger?

The skew is younger and male, mostly in the 25 to 35 demographic.

Did that demographic change as they introduced more products?

Products were aimed at different markets, so the shape became less peaky.

What is the main reason geeks buy these products?

They are expressing their uniqueness and love for a thing through a public display. It is related to why people get tattoos. It could be a TV show, knitting, cats or cycling, but it is a core part of their identity, which they define by cloaking themselves in it. It is more about the artwork than the product. Obviously, there are customers who want a pretty cushion, but the artwork is a big driver. That could be for themselves or gifting, but gifting remains a side show.

What would you estimate gifting to be? An old data point I have shows around 40% is gifting?

40% seems high to me to be honest; I am surprised it was that high.

Would that change by product?

Yes exactly, and to be super clear, gifting is an estimate because you do not know. It is not a science to know the exact number, and it differs per product and period of time. During Christmas many are bought as gifts, so behavior changes over the course of the year.

If gifting is relatively large on Redbubble versus other platforms, could that be a reason why customer retention is relatively low?

Yes, that is a sub-reason, but the bigger reason for customer retention being low is the purchase origination because the trigger does not happen on the platform. You decide you want a thing and then you go look for it. You end up at Redbubble because it offers that thing and then you purchase it, rather than sitting on your couch and thinking what Redbubble has to offer me today. It differs from fashion retail where you do not think about what you want; you simply go to ASOS or whatever Net-a-Porter and shop. With Redbubble, more often you have already searched for something, the genesis of which was not inspired by the platform. You could have searched for something and then decided to buy something else on the platform because it was a suggestion. The trigger is not Redbubble itself.

It’s the design and artwork that really is the trigger which means when the user searches on Google for fluffy cat t-shirt, you get Redbubble?

Fluffy cat t-shirt, fluffy cat cushion, yes.

So the advantage of Redbubble is the long tail of artwork content and SEO pages which drive the traffic?

Yes, a big strength of Redbubble is their corpus of content. In some ways, it is like the world's biggest shop. If you multiply the artworks by amount of product variants, you are in the billions of SKUs. They have the biggest range offered, in an effective way, to get each SKU to the person who is looking for it. Google is quite effective at crawling and figuring out if someone wants a cat t-shirt, and Redbubble has most of them.

On the point of products and market size, management claim the TAM is $300 billion; effectively apparel, clothing and homewares are all in that market. Are there products which do not fit the user journey of customization and printing?

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