7,000 responses from DSA Member companies make good reading for the sector as the mainstream direct to consumer retail offering gains momentum.

A new report from Barclays has suggested that UK manufacturers could gain £13bn over the next five years by shifting their focus from selling to wholesalers and retailers, and going direct to consumers: British manufacturers set to pocket £13bn by swerving retailers and selling directly to consumers on social media instead

  • Researchers discovered that nearly three out of four manufacturers now sell direct to consumers – a boost of 55% over the past five years.
  • Of those who have invested in technology to target households directly, around 45% said they had benefited from a boost in revenues; 38% said their customer base has grown, and 32% said it had increased their speed to market.
  • Nike recently revealed that it was launching a direct sales channel called Nike Direct, and start-ups including Eve Mattresses and Harrys razors started life as direct-to-consumer businesses.

As such the DSA – Direct Selling Association – decided to commission a huge piece of research into its Members. The DSA currently boasts more members than ever and is still growing, with 96 in total.

Susannah Schofield OBE joined the DSA as Director General nearly a year ago and in that time, she has always stated there would be significant growth in the Direct to Consumer market and that she believed the ‘Tupperware model’ would have its renaissance.

Susannah commented:

“In the era of the side hustle, direct selling is an increasingly attractive option for people wanting to work flexibly or start their own business without the risk or financial outlay that comes with a franchise or starting up on their own.

“The vast majority of people working in direct selling do so on a part-time basis to supplement their main household income, often fitting work around other commitments, be that a family or another job, and the average monthly amount earned by UK direct sellers is £372 (source: Ipsos MORI for Seldia 2018, UK sample size: 3,311). Earnings are made through commission on sales of products.

Sadly, but as in many industries, there are individuals that can cause huge reputational damage to the wider sector by failing to conduct themselves in an ethical or responsible manner. The DSA is working hard to eliminate this type of behaviour through education and training in conjunction with its members. This research was undertaken to allow us to have demonstrable data to show clearly the views of those who work within the sector from both an Employees and Independent Consultants’ perspective. We are delighted with the results, and thrilled that over 7,000 people took part across our wealth of Members.

Membership of the DSA is granted only to companies that are found to comply fully with the DSA’s Codes of Conduct, details of which are summarised below, and can also be found in full on the DSA’s website. It is worth noting that application for membership of the DSA is undertaken on a voluntary basis, therefore, if granted, DSA membership demonstrates a company’s keenness and commitment to proactively maintain and improve standards and best practice.”

DSA research headlights

About the DSA

  • The Direct Selling Association (DSA) is the recognised trade body for the direct selling industry in the UK.
  • The average monthly amount earned in UK direct selling is £372.95 (Ipsos MORI for Seldia, 2018); the vast majority of people do direct selling on a part-time basis to fit around family commitments or another job.
  • The direct selling retail channel accounts for sales of approximately £2.67 billion every year and includes a wide range of consumer goods and services, from skincare to cosmetics to nutritional products.
  • The DSA is committed to upholding standards in the industry, and to promoting and encouraging best practice.
  • Always look for the DSA logo before choosing a company to work with – DSA member companies must adhere to strict Codes of Conduct which offer both seller and consumer greater levels of protection.
  • www.dsa.org.uk

DSA Codes of conduct

The DSA has worked to develop two Codes of Conduct to which all its members must comply with. You can read them in full here, but here is a brief overview:

DSA Code of business conduct

  • The company must provide proper contracts, contract cancellation rights and product buy back rights which exceed those demanded by law.
  • The company must provide adequate basic training as part of any initial investment.
  • They must pay commissions and bonuses promptly, and provide regular and comprehensive statements of account.
  • The company and their direct sellers must not make unrepresentative or exaggerated earnings claims.
  • They must not ask for unreasonable investments.

DSA Code of practice for consumers

  • The company must provide adequate training to those joining, including training on their responsibilities to customers.
  • They must use transparent and fair selling methods.
  • They must offer a 14 day cooling off period for all customers.
  • All sales and promotional literature must be truthful and accurate.


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