The Honorable Julian Fantino, Minister of State, and Ross Creber share the stage at the Fraud Prevention Conference.
This time last year, Canadians were emerging from the dramatic economic crisis in which so many people had lost not only their jobs, but also their hope for the future. But as predicted by so many “economic think tanks,” Canada did rebound from the recession sooner and in a much better position than other countries.
The Canadian market has always been and continues to be a very receptive and profitable market for direct selling. Our research shows a high degree of consumer acceptance when compared with other channels in terms of quality products, product knowledge and customer service. It is a mature market, although somewhat underpenetrated—as is the U.S. market—in terms of percent of retail sales.
While retail sales of our members in 2010 declined 6 percent, more than CAN$1.3 billion was reported, and the number of independent sales consultants (ISCs) increased by 12 percent. The industry represents 16 percent of non-store retail sales in Canada, a position it has maintained during the past six years, and it continues to make significant economic and social contributions to Canadians and the nation by injecting CAN$4.55 billion of sales into the marketplace; contributing CAN$815 million in taxes that impact education, health services and community growth; and donating CAN$7.7 million to charities.
In terms of DSA members’ performance, 43 percent of the 48 companies reported an increase in 2010, with 26 percent reporting an increase of 15 percent or more. While overall party plan sales declined by 3 percent, 33 percent of these companies reported an increase in shows, attendance and average show sales, proving that consumers are looking for fun yet economical socializing opportunities.
As for the Direct Sellers Association itself, 2010–2011 has been a strong year for us as we have focused on strategic planning, government relations and developing the “DSA brand.” We want to be able to achieve a similar level of success with our branding to ISCs and Canadian consumers as we have with federal and provincial governments, where we are viewed as an important stakeholder by bureaucrats and elected officials alike.
Government relations once again dominated much of our work. This past year has been a combination of reacting to regulatory challenges as well as continuing a more proactive approach of seeking opportunities and partnerships that will ultimately benefit our companies and the hundreds of thousands of ISCs across the country.
If you have plans to come to Canada, make us your first contact point. If you are already marketing in Canada and are not a member of the DSA, let’s talk about the “value proposition” of being a member in the DSA of Canada.
For more information or to become a member, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ross Creber is President of the Direct Sellers Association of Canada.