Washington, D.C. (July 22, 2010) – The results of DSA’s annual Growth and Outlook Survey indicate 16.1 million Americans were direct sales representatives in the United States in 2009, and they sold $28.33 billion in products and services.
The number of direct selling representatives was up 6.6 percent over the prior year, marking an all-time high. Sales fell by 4.3 percent as the state of the overall economy continued to take a toll on consumer spending.
“The record number of Americans engaged in direct selling highlights the opportunity that direct selling affords people looking to earn extra money on their own terms and at their own pace,” said Neil Offen, DSA’s President and CEO. “Though the struggling economy and reduced consumer spending affected overall sales, we’re pleased that 16.1 million people discovered the potential of direct selling as a way to supplement their family’s income.”
Direct selling fared better than the overall retail sector in 2009. While direct selling sales were down 4.3 percent last year, overall retail sales were down 7.3 percent. In contrast to the dramatic rise in the number of direct sellers, employment in the retail sector fell 4.9 percent in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics.
According to Offen, many of the 1 million new direct sellers have only been involved in the business for a few months and haven’t yet reached their full selling potential.
“As the economy improves their businesses will grow, and we’re optimistic about the future,” Offen said. “The growth in the number of direct sellers portends a solid recovery year in 2010, helping to lead the retail sector of the economy out of this recession.”
DSA launched a year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary this year at its 2010 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The celebration will conclude at the 2011 Annual Meeting at the Fountainbleu Hotel in Miami. For more information, follow us on twitter @DSA411 and visit our fan page on Facebook.
About DSA’s Growth & Outlook Survey
The purpose of DSA’s Annual Growth & Outlook Survey is to determine the current size and scope of the direct selling industry in the US. It also provides direct selling companies important operating benchmarks to help them measure their effectiveness in the marketplace.
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