At its 2013 Annual Meeting, the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) released the results of its Annual Growth & Outlook Survey. The survey found that U.S. direct sales totaled $31.6 billion in 2012, up 5.9 percent from $29.87 billion in 2011. Here are a few highlights from the report:
- U.S. direct sales market grew at a faster pace than the overall economy, which saw only a 4.0 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP).
- In 2012, the number of people engaged in direct selling rose to 15.9 million from 15.6 million in 2011.
A considerable uptick in the size of the industry’s salesforce occurred in 2009, largely in response to the economic recession. Over the past two years, that trend corrected itself as the number of salespeople dropped incrementally; however, the number is once again on the rise. “Despite progress toward economic recovery, there are still many Americans looking for a source of supplemental income. Coupled with increasing consumer confidence, both sales and interest in the opportunity are at near-record levels,” said DSA President Joe Mariano.
- Both the Wellness and Services categories have seen a steady increase in sales over the last several years. Various direct selling energy companies that have entered deregulated markets across the country have notably contributed to the growth of the Services category.
“Whenever you have a product or service that is enhanced by personal recommendation or explanation, direct selling is a viable distribution model,” Mariano noted. “Consumers aren’t used to ‘comparison shopping’ for utilities so they rely on recommendations of those whom they trust. That’s one of the key benefits of direct selling.”
- Smaller direct selling companies (reporting annual retail sales under $3 million) saw an average retail sales increase of about 22 percent, with 76 percent of those companies experiencing growth.
“Our research has shown that, across the board, consumers like the idea of supporting small, local businesses,” said Mariano.
Read the full DSA press release and view a video of the announcements below.