Introducing the North America 50

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Direct Selling News is pleased to introduce a new component to the Global 100 project: the North America 50. This new list provides a closer look at the top publicly and privately held direct selling companies based in North America, one of the world’s largest and most influential direct selling markets.

With net sales of $10.80 billion in 2014, Ada, Michigan-based Amway leads both the Global 100 and North America 50 ranking. In fact, North America is home to the top four direct selling companies in the world—Amway, Avon, Herbalife and Mary Kay—and six of the top 10. In all, the North America 50 represents aggregate revenue of more than $51 billion, 60 percent of the Global 100 total.

“North America continues to be a vibrant and growing market for direct selling, and the achievements of these 50 companies provide evidence that a significant opportunity remains domestically,” says U.S. Direct Selling Association President Joseph N. Mariano. “We’ve seen steady growth in the U.S. since the economic downturn at the end of the last decade and anticipate it to continue. As direct selling continues to prosper, so will millions of Americans who are touched by the opportunity of our unique entrepreneurial channel.”

While based in North America, more than half of the companies on the new list take a decidedly global approach to growth, operating in more than five markets. Seven companies were doing business in more than 50 countries last year, and many maintained a rigorous schedule of market expansion. No. 15 It Works!, for example, began selling products in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Spain in February 2014, and in Norway and Switzerland a month later, bringing its total to 19 countries. Another fast-growing company, No. 13 Isagenix, launched operations in Vietnam and Colombia last year, bringing its total to 13 markets.

Yet, the new list also highlights the success many companies have found in keeping their business operations close to home. Eleven of the companies operate only in North America, with nine operating in a single country. The chart on Page 41 lists nine Global 100 U.S.-based companies that only do business in the U.S., along with their 2014 revenue number. No. 7 Ambit Energy, for example, has gone from startup to a $1.5 billion business in seven years while selling retail electricity and natural gas in just 14 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. (Read more about Ambit’s success on Page 76 and leadership on Page 88.)

US-Based/US-Only Business  2014 Revenue
Ambit Energy $1.50B
Stream Energy $918M
AdvoCare International $494M
Team National Inc. $399M
Viridian Energy $328M
Origami Owl $250M
Family Heritage Life $237M
Take Shape For Life $206M
Princess House $161M

The North America 50 list also illustrates the region’s role as a leader in establishing and shaping the direct selling distribution model worldwide. The oldest company on the list, Avon, traces its roots to 1886, when a 28-year-old traveling book salesman started the California Perfume Company after realizing female customers were more interested in the free perfume samples he offered than in his books. Throughout the early and mid-1900s, members of the sales fields of early direct sales companies—Mary Crowley, Mary Kay Ash, Brownie Wise, Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel, and Jan and Frank Day, among others—went on to become founders and influential members of yet more companies, launching growth the direct selling community continues to experience today. No. 21 Nerium, for example, is among the newcomers to the direct selling landscape that benefit from the field experience in their executive ranks. Founder Jeff Olson was a top distributor for several companies and has tightly woven his belief in the power of personal development into the company culture since its start in 2011.

North American customers have played a significant role in the growth as well. According to the most recent data from the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, direct selling generated $178.5 billion in retail sales worldwide in 2013, with more than 23 percent of that coming from North American buyers. The U.S. alone generated an estimated $32.7 billion in retail sales.

Direct Selling News is committed to continuing to expand the Global 100 project, bringing fresh business intelligence and new insight into the sales channel each year. The North America 50 list is part of that effort and, if 2014 is any indication, will be a significant part of the project for years to come.

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