120% rise in direct selling

Cash in back pocket

The amount of money made through direct selling parties has shot up by 120% in the past three years to £290 million, a rise from £177 million in 2009.

The number of people turning to direct selling - also known as home-selling - to make an extra income has also increased by 20,000 since 2009 and there are now 395,000 direct sellers in the UK, according to research from the Direct Selling Association (DSA).

How it works

Direct selling companies, such as Avon, work by employing people to sell products, either door-to-door or by organising parties. Samples of the products are available and customers order through the seller, who then gets a percentage of what is sold in commission.

This type of work is now the largest provider of part-time independent work in the UK as many people turn to it to provide an extra income. The research from the DSA also mirrors last week’s unemployment data, which showed self-employment rising by 89,000 to a record high of 4.16 million.

"As times have become tough over the past few years, the industry has emerged as an alternative way of earning for an increasing number of people," explains Paul Southworth, director general for the DSA.

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