Based on WFDSA’s (World Federation of Direct Selling Associations) reports (*), direct selling industry’s sales volume increased by 1.9% in 2016. While growth is almost always a positive thing, this last year’s rate was considerably lower than those achieved in 2014 and 2015 (6.1% and 7.6%, respectively). Global sales volume for 2016 was reported as $183 billion, and the number of direct sellers as 107 million.
Let’s look into some of the significant numbers and changes behind these overall figures…
As far as the regional trends are concerned, the above table shows us two significant things: 1) Europe increased its share (from 17% to 20%), while b) “Americas” lost its (from 37% to 33%) in this three-year period.
To add these two observations, we can also say Asia-Pacific, despite all the attention it attracts from the direct sellers grew only in line with the whole world, and nothing much happened in Africa.
In the year 2014, the top 10 direct selling markets were listed as: USA, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, France, Malaysia, and the UK. These 10 markets accounted for 78% of the global direct selling volume, and the largest 23 markets for 93%.
One year later in 2015, members of the “Top 10” did not change, but some of the volume shares and rankings did. Germany increased its share by 3 points, China by 2, and the US by 1 point. With this, Germany jumped from its 6th position in 2014, to the 4th position in 2015. In 2015, top 10 markets’ total volume represented 79%, up one point from previous year.
The top 10 remained the same in 2016 and all of them kept the position they had had in 2015. The important points in 2016 were: The US lost one point of its share whereas Germany further increased its share by another point. Top 10 countries’ overall share remained as 80% in 2016.
Last year’s volume growth champion was reported as Venezuela by the WFDSA. Venezuela’s year-over-year growth in constant 2016 $ was 87%! It was followed by Argentina (41%), Kazakhstan (19%), South Africa (18%), and Netherlands (16%). Those that posted the highest negative growth figures were: New Zealand (-19%), Greece (-8%) and Japan and Croatia (both, -6%)
Wellness category has increased its share considerably in the last three years. This has led to a change in the leadership. While cosmetic products made up the leading category in 2014, wellness moved to #1 position in 2015 and remained there in 2016.
Although its absolute size is still small, “foodstuffs and beverages” category’s performance absolutely deserves special attention. Going from 1.3% to 2.1% in three years means more than 60% increase.
Last but not least, clothing and accessories’ jump in 2016 should also be noted.
Direct selling industry’s leading product category wellness was the strongest in Asia/Pacific in 2016. Its share was 42%, way above the global average. Cosmetics category’s leading region on the other hand, was Americas (34%).
This article has aimed at providing a general insight on how the industry has evolved in the last three years, globally. For more detailed data, you might want to check WFDSA’s web site.
(*) WFDSA states some of the country figures represent the whole direct sales market, some others represent only the volumes of country DSA’s members, and some are WFDSA estimates. Nevertheless, these reports give us pretty significant indications.
Hakki Ozmorali is the Principal of WDS Consultancy, a consulting firm specialized in providing services to direct selling firms. He is also the publisher of The World of Direct Selling, global industry’s leading weekly online publication. He is an experienced professional with a strong background in direct sales. Hakki was the first corporate professional in the Turkish network marketing industry. His work experiences in direct selling include Country and Regional Manager roles at various multinationals in Turkey and in Canada. You can contact Hakki here.