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January 01, 2017

DSA News

Filling the Data Void

by Ben Gamse

Click here to order the November 2016 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Obtain New Industry Insights by Participating in DSA’s 2017 Growth & Outlook Survey

A common observation among executives new to direct selling is that there is surprisingly little syndicated data available about the direct selling channel, as compared to other industries. Direct selling companies are increasingly hungry for market intelligence to better understand industry dynamics and to make more-informed operating decisions. And, without sufficient data, the direct selling industry can seem mysterious and be misunderstood. Frankly, there is opportunity to elucidate the direct selling industry more with data for the benefit of all involved.

The U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) uses industry research to clarify what direct selling is and report on its impact in the United States. DSA engages Nathan Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based economic consulting firm, to confidentially collect, vet and aggregate survey data. With oversight from DSA’s Industry Research Committee, comprised of direct selling-executive research experts, and in conjunction with Artemis Strategy Group, DSA reports industry-wide data, insights and recommendations that can help companies better understand the sales channel, benchmark against their peers and make more-informed operational decisions.

DSA’s flagship annual market-sizing study, Growth & Outlook, will be fielded beginning on Jan. 9. The 2017 Growth & Outlook Survey reports on the size and scope of the entire U.S. direct selling market, year-to-year growth rates, salesforce demographics, current trends, forecasting, productivity metrics, and operating benchmarks to measure marketplace efficiency. The survey also places U.S. direct selling performance within the context of broader economic trends/indicators (e.g. unemployment, GDP, overall retail). Additionally, results from this survey contribute to the Annual Statistical Survey conducted by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), utilized to meet global research needs.

Last year’s Growth & Outlook Survey found continued record growth in direct selling in the United States in terms of sales ($36.12 billion) and people involved (20.2 million). The results are used in numerous ways, from educating key audiences such as regulators and legislators to providing benchmarking data and insights to direct selling company survey participants.

“We participate in DSA’s Growth & Outlook Survey to be represented in one of the most important tracking tools for the direct selling industry and, of course, to receive the full reports when released,” says Jeff Kaufman, Director of Customer and Field Insights at Isagenix International and Chair of DSA’s Industry Research Committee. “We use the results as a benchmark versus company performance—both industry-wide and within health and wellness. Also, we use results on enrollment trends for forecasting.”

Growth & Outlook’s value is proportional to the level of participation in the survey. DSA encourages all direct selling companies with operations in the United States, whether a DSA member or not, to participate. Companies that participate will receive the full results report at no cost later this year. To gain access to the results report full of industry data and insights, ensure that someone from your company completes DSA’s 2016 Growth & Outlook Survey by Friday, March 10, by visiting For questions, please contact Ben Gamse at or 202-452-8866.

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