The story of direct selling in 2009 and 2010 is much the same as it was worldwide for all industries. Developing nations continued to rise, and China and India were standouts for significant growth. More people were clamoring for additional income opportunities, but overall direct sales numbers were generally lower than they were a few years ago. In short, less was more around the world.
In December 2010, Nordstrom Inc. announced that November 2010 revenue from its stores that had been open at least a year rose 5.1 percent, surpassing Wall Street’s expectations. Nordstrom indicated that its best-selling items included jewelry and women’s and men’s shoes. Also in December of last year, JCPenney announced the launch of a Facebook e-commerce application, which gives the more than 1.3 million people who “like” the retailer the chance to purchase product directly from JCPenney’s Facebook page. According to the retailer, only selected product categories—including jewelry, shoes and handbags—are now sold on Facebook.
While the economic downturn of the past few years has forced many consumers to tighten their belts on discretionary spending habits, sales of weight loss products has remained consistent and, in many instances, experienced tremendous growth over other products offered by the direct selling industry.
The younger generation has already forced a path of change, ushering in a new era in direct selling.
More and more U.S.-based direct selling companies are looking abroad to capture the growing demand for new products and career opportunities. Regional markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia are leading the industry in growth of salesforce and revenue.
Beauty and personal care products remain a cornerstone of the direct selling industry.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/ By any other name would smell as sweet.” —Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene II
How could there be a more social industry than direct selling? For us, it’s all about relationships. We treasure, nurture and build our businesses on them. No wonder social media is one of the hottest topics in any gathering of industry professionals.
Today more than 15 million people in the United States are engaged in a direct sales organization. While statistics from the Direct Selling Association show an annual increase in the overall salesforce growth rate over the past decade, the reality is that many of these first-time entrepreneurs will fall short of their dreams and disappear.
Yes, we are ambitious. Direct Selling News and all of the companies in this industry, that is. No challenge is too great. To illustrate this point, DSN created the Global 100, the top direct selling companies in the world, based on 2009 year-end wholesale revenue (in U.S. dollars).