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Retail chiefs predict bumper Christmas for direct-to-consumer

A new poll of UK retail leaders, released today, reports robust performances across retail’s direct-to-consumer channel in the run up to Christmas, with 35 per cent of those taking part in the research stating that they expect 2019 Christmas sales through the channel to be the ‘strongest on record’, and a further 50 per cent expecting ‘strong’ sales.

80 per cent of those polled reported that D2C is ‘performing better than traditional retail channels’; a view supported by the recent performance of brands such as The Body Shop’s D2C division, The Body Shop at Home, which was credited as one of the main drivers behind the group’s overall growth of approximately 50 per cent year-on-year since 2017.

Susannah Schofield OBE, Director General of the Direct Selling Association, which undertook the research, said: “Whilst the high street continues to struggle, direct-to-consumer retail remains healthy, with the majority of those leaders polled (85per cent) expecting strong sales in the run up to Christmas this year.

“The success of approaches by brands such as Nike and The Body Shop have drawn considerable attention to D2C retail throughout 2019, at a time when traditional approaches are just not generating results for many brands.

“However, it’s taken a long time for people’s frequently-outdated perceptions of the channel to catch up with the reality. Direct-to-consumer may have its origins in the 1970s Tupperware party, but as Nike has demonstrated, the channel has matured to become far more sophisticated in 2019. Done well, the direct to consumer retail is not only fulfilling consumer appetites for more tailored and personalised retail experiences but yielding impressive results at a time when other channels are struggling.”

90 per cent of the leaders that participated in the research forecast that 2020 will be a year of ‘significant growth’ for D2C.

Peter Kropp, Global Director of The Body Shop at Home, one of the 20 leaders who participated in the DSA research, adds: “The Body Shop at Home occupies a unique space as a direct sales channel within an omnichannel environment comprised of Retail, eCommerce and the Direct Sales Channel. Following the acquisition of The Body Shop by Natura [in 2017], there has been a significant focus on developing the training and leadership skills of our independent sales consultants, and this has been a clear driver of our current success.

“Trends look to be sustained through 2019 and into 2020 despite challenging economic headwinds.” He concludes.

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