Covid-19: Digital Tupperware-style parties drive sales for DTC sector

Traditional Tupperware-style parties going virtual has helped drive sales for several direct to consumer (DTC) businesses during the current Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, according to the industry body representing the sector.

The Direct Selling Association said today (14 April) that some of its members have reported a surge in sales during recent weeks as a result of hosting digital gatherings for groups of friends and families.

Direct selling is where products are sold directly to consumers outside of a fixed retail environment, either via face-to-face, parties, online or catalogues. Clearly in the current health emergency, where social interactions are restricted, this can only be done online or via catalogue orders.

Susannah Schofield, director general of the Direct Selling Association, commented: “Initial indications suggest that consumer demand has increased considerably across many of our member companies as result of the Covid-19 situation.

“It is clear that consumers are looking to alternative channels of retail following the closure of more traditional outlets, and this is particularly true across health, wellness and homecare product lines.”

She added: “All sales are currently taking place online following Covid-19, including the hosting of virtual Tupperware-style parties by members such as The Body Shop at Home and Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic, which bring friends and family together for an online personal shopping experience and a bit of light-hearted fun.”

Avon, Amway, and Usborne Books at Home are among the other members of the Direct Selling Association, which said that 563,000 people work as independent salespeople in direct selling in the UK. The industry body also noted that 34% of the UK population have bought products in this way, making it a circa £2.67 billion sector in terms of annual retail sales.

Andy Smith, general manager for Amway UK & Ireland, which sells health, beauty, and homecare products, remarked: “We have seen a 30% increase in product sales this March compared to March 2019.

“The highest demand has been for our wellness range, particularly vitamins and supplements, as people look increasingly to support their health at the moment, as well as general homecare items.”

He added: “Our expectation is that current growth trends will be sustained as consumers look to shop from home during the current lockdown, but with the personal advice and recommendation that this form of retail is famous for."