Direct Selling Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Direct Selling Industry Profile

Companies in this industry sell a wide variety of products, primarily door-to-door or through other person-to-person contact. Major US companies include Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Schwan Food, and Tupperware, as well as Vorwerk (Germany), Natura (Brazil), Herbalife (Grand Cayman), Coway (South Korea), and China's Infinitus, and Perfect.

Worldwide revenue for direct selling companies is about $180 billion, according to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). The US is the world's leading market for direct sales, followed by China, Korea, Germany, and Japan. China is still Amway's top market, accounting for about 30% of the company's $8.4 billion in total sales.

The US direct selling industry includes about 21,000 establishments (single-location firms and units of multi-location firms), according to the US Census Bureau, with combined annual revenue of about $35.4 billion, according to the Direct Selling Assocation (DSA) Statistical Database.


Personal income and consumer preferences drive demand for the diverse array of products sold by the direct selling industry. Profitability for companies depends on the success of independent representatives who sell products to the public. Large companies enjoy economies of scale in marketing and in training and supporting representatives in the field. Small companies can compete effectively by offering popular products. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 40% of industry revenue.

Competition for the industry includes online, catalog, and brick-and-mortar retailers.

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