Global direct selling sales and participation increase in 2021
By: SSN Staff
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) this week released its report on global direct selling’s sales and salesforce for 2021. The Washington D.C.-based organization announced worldwide direct sales of $186.1 billion for that year, representing a year-over-year increase of 3.3% when excluding China and a 1.5% increase including China, based on a constant currency basis. By using constant currency to report sales figures, the impact of foreign exchange is negated.
The three-year compound annual growth rate spanning 2018-2012 was reported as 3.8%, excluding China and -0.1% with China included. The report notes that during Q1 of 2019, the Chinese government implemented a 100 Day Review of the nutrition supplement industry, which “had a significant impact on certain sectors of the industry.” This problem was dramatically compounded by the disruptions associated with COVID-19 that were occurring at the same time.
Wellness Products Lead Sales
The WFDSA’s data shows that the Wellness sector led all direct selling segments with a 35% share of global direct sales. Wellness product sales in the Asia/Pacific region performed particularly well, representing over 50% of total sales in countries such as India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, and over 80% of sales in the Philippines and Vietnam. Cosmetic and Personal Care sales were a strong second, representing 25% of global sales while the Household Goods and Durables segment totaled 16%. Each of the remaining categories—Clothing and Accessories, Home Care, Books and Toys, Food and Beverage, Home Improvement, Utilities, Financial Services—represented between 2% and 5% of global direct sales. The report states that these figures are based only on DSA member companies, except for Taiwan and the U.S. where the numbers represent the entire direct selling channel.
The WFDSA’s report confirmed an increase in the global direct selling salesforce. In 2021, 128.2 million independent distributors worked full-time or part-time, representing a slight increase of 0.7% over 2020. The data shows that the number of men in direct selling increased globally by 4% to 30% of the salesforce and also provides news of a significant increase of 12% over 2020 in the share of representatives working full time in direct selling.
More Companies Offer Preferred Customer Option
As another option for direct selling participants, the WFDSA reports that 40% of direct selling markets now report a Preferred Member option, with just under 30 million people worldwide participating in these programs in 2021.
The WFDSA’s preview of its report suggests that not only is the segmentation of Preferred Customers good for companies that wish to distinguish between customers and representatives, but it can help grow the salesforce as well.
“Many of those joining Preferred Customer programs would previously have joined as independent representatives primarily to access discounted products,” the WFDSA stated. “The benefit of these programs is that they often provide a more customer-oriented experience for these participants, more consistent with their goals at this stage of their journey with Direct Selling. Many eventually go on to pursue the business opportunity based on their richer experience as a customer. We expect to see this trend continue as these programs develop further, ultimately providing a much clearer view of how participants engage with the Direct Selling industry.”
Sales By Region and Country
In 2021, the Asia/Pacific region claimed the highest percentage of global direct sales at 42%. Sales in the Americas represented 36% of the total, with Europe at 21%. When broken down by country, the United States led all countries in sales at $42.7 billion—more than twice the sales for the second place country, Korea, with $19.4 billion in sales. Germany was a close third at 19.0%. The top 10 countries represent 78% of total global direct sales.
WFDSA – Over 40 years of Relationship Building
The WFDSA was founded in 1978 and is a non-governmental, voluntary organization that assists direct sellers and their regional direct selling organizations in more than 170 countries. The WFDSA is governed by a CEO Council and is chaired by a council member to serve a three-year term. The current chairman is Roger Barnett, chairman and CEO of Shaklee Corp, Hacienda Campus. Today, WFDSA is based in the United States capital, Washington, D.C. The organization works with more than 60 regional DSAs to promote ethical conduct and beneficial partnerships with government, consumer and academic representatives.
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