Findings show two-thirds of U.S. adults have purchased from direct sellers
LAKE DALLAS, Texas — With millions of adults actively engaged in buying products or services from independent sales representatives, the prevalence of direct selling is high, new research from Harris Poll shows. The study was commissioned by Direct Selling News, the industry’s leading trade publication.
The online survey of 2,060 U.S. adults 18 and older found that 156 million people , 66 percent of U.S. adults, have made a purchase from a direct seller — buying a consumer product or service person-to-person away from a fixed retail location. Of those, about 81 million people have done so within the past six months.
“Direct selling has evolved a lot over the past 50 years,” said John Fleming, publisher and editor in chief of Direct Selling News. “Today, many of the companies that utilize the distribution channel refer to it as social selling, network marketing or referral marketing. But whatever the name, with one in three U.S. adults making a purchase in this way in the past six months, it is a powerful part of the economy indeed.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Generation Y embraces direct sellers. Among adults age 18-34, 54% of men and 42% of women have made a direct selling purchase in the past six months.
- Direct selling consumers are embracing technology. Online is the most common way for customers to make a purchase from a direct seller, with 42 percent of all adults ever having done so.
- But face-to-face interaction continues to drive success in this way of doing business. Among adults age 18 or older: 33% have purchased from a direct seller in a group setting, such as a party, in someone else’s home; 24% have purchased from a direct seller at a demonstration for a product or service; 22% have purchased from a direct seller one-on-one in their own home; 21% have purchased from a direct seller at a trade show or similar type of event; 20% have purchased from a direct seller in a group setting, such as a party, in their own home; 20% have purchased from a direct seller one-on-one in another setting; and 12% have purchased from a direct seller at a seminar or presentation for a product or service.
This survey was conducted in advance of a larger, custom research project Harris Poll will undertake on behalf of DSN.
“Direct selling is an experience shared by millions of Americans. Our goal is to better educate and explain its scope today,” Fleming said. “It is our hope that this research and our continued work with Harris will provide better value for industry leaders, regulators, consumers and anyone else interested in better understanding this channel of distribution and tapping into the strength that it offers.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Direct Selling News from April 3 to April 7, 2014, among 2,060 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and complete definition of direct selling, please contact DSN Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming, firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT DIRECT SELLING NEWS
Direct Selling News is the only trade publication serving the executive-level ranks of direct selling companies and their suppliers. Based in Lake Dallas, Texas, DSN is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
ABOUT NIELSEN & HARRIS POLL
On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.