The Direct Selling Association (DSA) released top line results from its 2020 Growth & Outlook survey during the opening of its June 4–9 virtual education event, Engage 2020.
Growth & Outlook is DSA’s annual survey that reports on the size and scope of direct selling in the U.S. and is audited by Nathan Associates, a third-party international economic consulting firm. The focus of this year’s Growth & Outlook Report has shifted toward analyzing the industry outlook. More specifically, the report will include detailed analysis of Coronavirus and its impact on the industry. It will provide actionable recommendations for navigating the challenges the pandemic poses and provide an industry sales forecast along with scenario planning.
To better understand industry trends within such a rapidly evolving macroeconomic landscape, DSA is conducting extensive research in addition to its standard Growth & Outlook market-sizing survey. For example, DSA’s Coronavirus QuickPulse surveys track the business impact of Coronavirus on a weekly basis, and quarterly DataTracker surveys provide insight into quarterly trends and KPIs. DSA’s Industry Research Committee is analyzing all this survey data, secondary research, and developing key insights and actionable takeaways to include in the 2020 Growth & Outlook Report to be released early this summer.
“We know that maintaining relevance and resiliency are vital for the future growth of the channel. That’s why we have intentionally expanded the focus of the Growth & Outlook survey to include several new inputs including QuickPulse research to help us look forward and envision the future of direct selling,” said Joseph N. Mariano, president of the DSA. “While every form of retail, including direct selling, is being challenged during this time, I am confident the channel will continue to thrive because of the digital innovations coupled with a personal touch that provides unique value to consumers.”
The annual Direct Selling Growth & Outlook Survey provides the following data on the industry:
Retail Sales Remain Steady: The direct selling channel generated $35.2 billion in retail sales in 2019.
Consumers Continue to Enjoy Products and Services Offered by Direct Sellers: Health and wellness products lead the channel in terms of size and growth with person-to-person sales as the most prevalent method of engaging with consumers.
Americans are Still Seeking Entrepreneurial Opportunities: There were 6.8 million direct sellers in 2019, a 9.9 percent increase from the prior year; 87 percent of direct sellers (5.9 million) are part-time.
“The Growth & Outlook study reveals a robust and stable retail channel that is valued by consumers for its products and services, customer service, and overall shopping experience. The resilience of the channel results from its continual evolution and improvement and the dedication and hard work of the distributors, employees, and other stakeholders in the direct selling industry. And it is these demonstrated strengths of the industry that give confidence that it will meet the challenges it faces, now and in the future,” said Paul Bourquin, principal at Nathan Associates.
Mariano added, “There’s something about people’s desire to connect and be a part of a community that is not an inherent part of traditional or online retail sales. A key strength of direct selling, which differentiates it from other retail channels, is the personal relationship and passion for the product direct sellers provide, and that is not altered during a pandemic.”