This month’s Cover Story is always one of our favorites. Our focus in the article “Direct Selling’s Billion Dollar Markets” offers a glimpse at how the business model is faring around the world. The data is always very challenging to collect, but there is a new effort being conducted by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA Global Research Sub-Committee) that has now provided the latest data on the four regions of the world from a collection of 2010 data. Data for 2011 will be released later this year.
In preparing this month’s Cover Story, Direct Selling News had the opportunity to discuss the importance of such data with Amway’s Judy Jones, who is the new Chair of the WFDSA Research Sub-Committee. Judy also serves as the current chair of the United States DSA Industry Research Committee. When discussing the relevance of data, Judy shared: “The direct selling industry must present credible statistics in order to be viewed as a serious industry. Statistics form the basis for the story of direct selling and why it is such a powerful engine of opportunity.”
We were delighted to hear the above comments because we know that we are in a great moment in time when the need for the direct selling model of distribution and opportunity ties so well into all of the major media conversations—the No. 1 discussion is still about jobs. Regardless of the stability in an overall unemployment rate, the U.S. alone still has about 5.6 million fewer jobs than before the recession started, depending on who is issuing the data. This data would indicate that the pool of people interested in learning a new way to work and earn an income has never been greater! However, direct selling data, industry performance and the performance of individual direct selling companies—in terms of their growth and their effectiveness in providing services and opportunities in an unparalleled manner—are stories that we must tell, over and over again, if the respect and credibility so duly deserved is to be gained and achieved. In reflecting back on Judy Jones’ quote, it becomes very clear why data is so important.
April is a time to reflect and also a time to celebrate. On April 16 at the 2012 DSN Global 100 banquet, we will announce the results of our 2011 research which, once again, identifies the top 100 direct selling companies in the world. The top publicly held companies have already released their 2011 results, and much of what we have seen has revealed positive growth and often record-breaking results. Privately held Amway has also made public its results from 2011, posting an astounding $10.9 billion in sales representing growth of 17 percent over the prior year. As we finish the task of compiling the top 100, we extend appreciation and gratitude to those privately held companies who shared their results supporting the value and importance of data, which increases understanding of the collective impact this group of companies is making on the economic well-being of free people throughout our world.
There are so many stories that need to be told. As our nation continues to look for that glimmer of hope as to what elements can lead us back to prosperity, well-being and greater peace of mind, we believe that direct selling is one of those elements. Creating a better life is one of the sub-themes (provided by U.S. DSA) we have chosen for the next DSN-USA Today supplement to be distributed to over 2 million readers on April 13. Through the 24-page insert, we will describe direct selling in the most up-to-date terms explaining why consumers will find the possibility of a concierge type of buying experience and opportunity seekers and explorers will find a possible solution to immediate needs or even a new career. The attributes of direct selling are actually assets to be gained, and the messaging will be designed to inform and educate, but most importantly, support the millions of independent contractors who, each day, are attempting to tell the stories that need to be told.
The data obviously helps to tell the stories. Through data and the stories it tells, we gain the opportunity to show others the true meaning of what lies behind the words often used to describe the direct selling industry. Through data and information, others can learn more about why direct selling is so appropriate for the times. We know the rules have changed, and entrepreneurship in its truest form is made possible without traditional risk when one chooses a direct selling company as their vehicle for change, both personally and economically. In our June issue of Direct Selling News you can look forward to reviewing the 2011 DSN Global 100 companies. As we did last year, you can also look forward to the DSN Global 100 being published, along with the story, in a supplement in The Wall Street Journal around late May or early June, with the exact date to be published in next month’s issue.
Until next month, enjoy the issue—and the website!
Publisher and Editor in Chief