Direct marketing is seen as a growing industry in South Africa. In recent years, socio-economic trends, such as changing social patterns and technological advances, have favoured the development of direct marketing. Marketers are entering an era of individualisation in which many of today's consumers are informed buyers. To understand consumers' reasons for direct purchasing, focus has been placed on consumers' buying motives. The purpose of this article is therefore to explore the factors motivating South African consumers to use direct purchasing as a shopping method. Special attention is given to consumers' attitudes toward direct purchasing. The findings of a research survey present the most important motivational factors of direct purchasing. Although the study is of an exploratory nature, hypotheses were formulated based on the available literature and the findings of studies conducted previously in other countries. The main findings indicate that perceived risks are some of the most powerful discriminators between direct purchasers and non-direct purchasers.