New DSA Statistics Offer Some Surprising Results

In a June 2013 press release, the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA) released the results of its Annual Growth & Outlook Survey. Some of the statistics you will find to be quite surprising. The Survey found the following updated direct selling statistics for 2012:

– U.S. direct sales totaled $31.6 billion in 2012, a 5.9 percent year-over-year increase from $29.87 billion in 2011.

– In 2012, there were 15.9 million people involved in direct selling in the U.S., an increase from 15.6 million the prior year.

– The U.S. direct selling market grew faster than the overall U.S. economy, which grew 4.0 percent as measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

– The share of sales for two categories: Wellness (including weight management products, nutritional supplements, health foods and beverages, etc.) and Services (including utilities, and financial products) has steadily increased for the last several years.

– Seventy-six percent of smaller direct selling companies (those with annual retail sales under $3 million) saw growth, with an average retail sales increase of about 22 percent.

– The U.S. was ranked as the top direct selling market in the world with 19 percent of worldwide sales in 2012.

– Japan came in second with $22.7 billion (14 percent), followed by China at $20.0 billion (12 percent), Brazil at $14.6 billion (9 percent) and South Korea at $13.3 billion (8 percent).

– Global direct sales increased 5.4 percent from $158.3 billion in 2011 to $166.9 billion in 2012, according to Carlucci.

– The number of people involved in direct selling in the United States increased 1.9% to 15.9 million in 2012 from 15.6 million in 2011.

The Direct Selling Association offers some additional statistics for those paying close attention to the MLM industry (located at the DSA’s website):

Credit to the DSA

2012 Estimated Direct Retail Sales









Credit to the DSA

Number of People Involved in Direct Selling in the U.S.









Credit to the DSA

Revenue by Product Group






Credit to the DSA

2012 Estimated Direct Retail Sales by Method























These updated statistics show how resilient the MLM industry is despite economic troubles, and just how many people rely on this industry to create auxiliary income. The MLM industry is growing. More people are becoming consultants and distributors. Large and small direct selling companies are maintaining growth. The direct sales business model is on the rise globally, especially in the United States. And the pace of growth of the direct selling industry has outpaced that of the overall U.S. economy.

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