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Direct selling comes of age as under-25s flock to the industry

Young people now make up 22% of industry while there has been a 30% increase in people whose sole income is generated by direct selling


New figures have revealed a boom in the number of young people working in direct selling, with a 16% increase in the number of under-25 year old direct sellers last year compared to 2013 figures. Under-25 year olds now make up 22% of the industry, meaning of the 400,000 direct sellers in the UK, over 88,000 are now under the age of 25.


The figures from the Direct Selling Association (DSA), the trade body for the industry, show that younger people are turning to direct selling as an alternative way to generate income and be their own boss in an increasingly competitive jobs market. This age bracket is increasingly attracted to running their own business, with recent data from The Social Entrepreneurs Foundation, suggesting almost half (47%) of young people would like to start their own business.


The statistics, taken from the annual survey of the DSA’s member companies, also show a 30% increase in the number of people whose sole income is generated by direct selling. 104,000 direct sellers do not have a second job, reflecting the opportunities of direct selling as a solid full time career.


Direct selling includes products bought from a catalogue delivered by direct sellers (such as cosmetics), products bought in a group party environment (like kitchen equipment or jewellery), products demonstrated in a customers’ home (such as make up), or products bought direct from a direct seller at events like craft fairs or fitness clubs (like cards or nutritional supplements). Members of the DSA include Forever Living, Amway, Herbalife, Usborne Books at Home and Kleeneze.


Lynda Mills, Director General of the DSA says: “Direct selling is becoming more mainstream and offering a whole range of people a real alternative to traditional employment. The industry has been growing in popularity over the last few years and we’ve now reached the stage where younger people see it as an appealing career option.”


Direct selling provides individuals with a unique opportunity to work flexibly around other commitments and run your own business.  When people begin direct selling they purchase a starter kit, which is on average £100 for a business kit and sample products. They can then begin selling the products, making back a percentage of the sales they make. The DSA is responsible for promoting the sector and regulating member companies.

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