Direct Selling Market Insights: Helping You Make More Informed Business Decisions

Click here to order the February 2016 issue in which this article appeared.

One of the primary benefits of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) membership is our member-directed research program that provides unique insights and business intelligence about the direct selling channel you can’t find anywhere else. DSA’s research shares best practices and measures Key Performance Indicators that can help direct selling companies address business issues, as well as provide information on current salesforce members’ attitudes and opinions toward the channel. Specifically, the 2016 Growth & Outlook (G&O) Survey, now in the field, will provide a thorough understanding of the size and scope of the direct selling channel in the United States for 2015. This annual market-sizing survey also identifies emerging trends within the industry, places industry performance within national and global macroeconomic contexts, and provides projections for industry growth.

Last year’s Growth & Outlook Survey indicated that the United States continues to be the largest global market for direct sales, with the channel boasting record levels of growth both in terms of retail sales and number of people involved. The survey also provided key demographic data on direct selling (women represented nearly 75 percent of the salesforce), tracked the performance of party-plan relative to person-to-person strategies (person-to-person sales strategy represented more than 70 percent of retail sales), and showed that the wellness and services sectors experienced the largest growth. [See charts for reference]

Direct selling member companies utilize the operating benchmarks provided by DSA’s G&O Survey to measure their effectiveness in the marketplace and gain insights to help them find their competitive edge.

“We compare our metrics to our peers and look for opportunities to realign our strategic goals for continued growth,” says Pammie Strickland, Senior Manager of Analytics at Ambit Energy and Chairman of DSA’s Industry Research Committee. “We are constantly monitoring key indicators and trends that are most relevant to our industry, particularly when comparing labor, wages and sales percentages to cost indices.”


Don Karn, Vice President of North American Markets at Stemtech International Inc., adds, “The annual DSA survey allows us to see industry changes year over year, and that can help us as we plan for our own company’s growth…. It is always good for a company to keep its finger on the pulse of our industry. We at Stemtech review entries in the annual survey, looking for ideas and suggestions from direct selling companies that may lead to some fine tuning as we build for the future.”

In addition to providing data to describe the channel, a direct selling company’s participation ensures that the company will receive a copy of the results report, full of market intelligence, which can help the company better understand the channel as well as defining benchmarks in the effort to make more informed business decisions.

The quality of the G&O results report and the data it contains is proportional to the level of participation from direct selling companies. DSA is pleased that the level of participation in the G&O Survey has increased over the last several years, and we look forward to it continuing to grow. For more information about DSA research, visit

Ben GamseBen Gamse is Manager of Market Research for the U.S. Direct Selling Association.

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