The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) has published its 2015 Annual Report, supplying the most comprehensive data on the state of direct selling worldwide. In transactions that took place one-to-one, in retail shops, and online via e-commerce and social media, the industry continued its steady growth curve in 2014, seeing unprecedented sales and engagement.
Total retail sales climbed 6.4 percent last year to $182.8 billion, setting an industry record. Asia continues to outpace other markets, accounting for 45 percent of global retail sales. The Americas follow at 37 percent and Europe at 17 percent, with Africa and the Middle East representing the final 1 percent. In the past three years, the industry has seen a compound annual growth rate of 6.5 percent.
Behind direct selling’s positive growth trend are millions of entrepreneurs marketing an array of products and services. In 2014, their numbers swelled to 99.7 million, a 3.4 percent increase from 2013. Asia Pacific accounts for 51.1 million direct sellers, more than any other region, but the most significant growth took place in the Americas, where the salesforce increased 5.7 percent to 33.1 million.
“People today want to be able to determine their own hours, where they work, their level of commitment and effort, and their own goals,” WFDSA Chairman Doug DeVos, President of Amway, wrote in an introduction to the report. “This is what direct selling has been offering people for more than a century. And it’s why our industry is more compelling today than ever.”
DeVos also called on direct selling leaders to strengthen the industry’s image by proactively and transparently telling that story, as well as advocating for better consumer protections and legal definitions of the business model.