Click here to order the December 2014 issue in which this article appeared.
2014: A Year of Growth
I’m writing this letter from my hotel room in marvelous Rio De Janeiro, home to the 2014 World Congress of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. The event has brought together approximately 400 people from companies based around the world, all united for one purpose: supporting the direct selling path of entrepreneurship and the opportunity it presents to people from all walks of life. It also serves as time to reflect on the state of our community today: the challenges we face, the lessons we’ve learned and the opportunities ahead.
There’s no question that direct selling is enjoying a period of growth. Direct selling companies generated combined revenue of $180 billion worldwide in 2013, with the World Congress host country alone reporting 7.2 percent growth. As writer Judith Emmert explores in our cover story, beginning on page 16, more than a dozen U.S. companies have surpassed $500 million in annual revenue this year and are continuing to climb toward the $1 billion peak. During the reporting for the cover story, USANA President Kevin Guest told us, “As we knock on the door of $1 billion, most of our challenges have related to becoming a $1 billion organization before we actually hit that level of sales. This means that we need to think, act and behave like a $1 billion organization before we can become one.”
Here at Direct Selling News, 2014 included a number of significant initiatives designed to support growth throughout direct selling. First and foremost was our groundbreaking survey work conducted with the team at Harris Poll. We began the relationship by commissioning Harris Poll to conduct a survey in the spring answering the question: How prevalent are direct selling products in the United States. (The answer: Very! Two-thirds (66 percent) of adults—an estimated 156 million people—have ever made a purchase from a direct seller. One-third (34 percent) have done so in the past six months.) In late August, we went back to the field with a more in-depth study examining both direct selling consumers and distributors, and we look forward to continuing to bring you more in-depth analysis from this exclusive research. During the year, we also published a special insert in The Wall Street Journal, crafted to communicate the positive attributes and dynamic nature of direct selling with the Journal’s high-level audience, and a special edition during the U.S. Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting, highlighting the event’s content and awards.
It was my privilege to join the Direct Selling News team in February, and I look forward to continuing to expand our work as we head into 2015. I could not have asked for a more gracious welcome and am particularly thankful for the continued support and guidance of Publisher and Editor in Chief John Fleming. The stories of companies dedicated to serving as beacons of hope and opportunity through direct selling throughout the world are captivating.
Until next time, I wish you and your teams a holiday season filled with joy.
All the best,
Lauren Lawley Head