At its 2016 Annual Meeting, which kicked off Monday in Phoenix, the U.S. Direct Selling Association unveiled the results of its annual Growth & Outlook Report on direct selling in the U.S.
The findings show that overall retail sales climbed 4.8 percent in 2015 to a record $36.1 billion. The channel’s sales volume reflects continued growth in the number of people engaged in direct selling, a figure that has increased steadily since 2012. By the close of 2015, direct selling entrepreneurs across the U.S. totaled 20.2 million, up 11 percent from the prior year.
Joseph Mariano, DSA President, notes that recent growth trends have continued in spite of fierce competition from brick-and-mortar and online retailers. “That’s the best evidence I know that the marketplace values meaningful engagement with customers. In an era when good customer service is increasingly rare, direct selling is bucking the trend,” said Mariano.
Individuals are partnering with direct selling companies to sell a wide range of products, including clothing, insurance, wellness goods and energy—to name a few. According to the report, the wellness category continues to lead the channel, accounting for 33.5 percent of total retail sales. Not surprisingly, the category also recorded the largest annual gain, with sales up more than 16 percent to $12.1 billion.
The Washington, D.C.-based Direct Selling Association partnered with economic consulting firm Nathan & Associates to publish its 2016 Growth & Outlook Report. The data is based on responses from 102 direct selling companies and other sources.