Covid-19: Significant rise in direct-to-consumer sales in April

The Direct Selling Association has recorded a significant increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales during April. In a survey, sales growth was reported by a majority of the association’s members, including The Body Shop’s direct selling division, which had a year-to-year increase in turnover of 65% during April.

The Direct Selling Association’s members, which include The Body Shop at Home, Avon and Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic, also revealed a notable rise in people joining DTC brands to become independent salespeople during the crisis to earn additional income as the coronavirus crisis began to escalate. At Usborne Books at Home for example, there was a 104% year-on-year increase in new salespeople joining its business in March and April, while hair and skincare brand MONAT recorded a 300% rise in new partners since lockdown began.

Direct selling is where products are sold directly to consumers outside of a fixed retail environment, via routes such as Tupperware parties, online, and catalogue distribution. With many high-street retailers forced to close as part of lockdown restrictions, the channel has provided an important way for consumers to purchase non-essential items in recent months. Last month, it was found that virtual Tupperware-style parties had helped drive sales for DTC businesses during Covid-19.

Susannah Schofield, director general of the Direct Selling Association commented: “The closure of retail stores in March led to our members reporting early increases in sales via DTC channels as shoppers turned to alternative forms of retail. Now many brands are reporting that sales are being further bolstered through April and into May by an increased appetite for side hustle-style earning as people look to supplement household incomes amidst the economic uncertainty.”

She continued: “Despite the likelihood that DTC channels may experience some degree of tail-off from recent peaks once other retail channels start to resume, we expect that DTC sales will continue to be sustained at higher levels compared to pre-Covid as people continue to supplement their income longer-term, particularly given the broader economic outlook.”