On July 1, the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) released results for the global direct selling industry in 2020. According to WFDSA, worldwide retail sales were $179.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 5.8 percent, excluding China, with all regions experiencing increases in sales versus 2019. Global results, including China, resulted in a sales increase of 2.3 percent. The three-year compound annual growth was 3.0 percent (excluding China).
The total number of independent representatives/distributors for 2020 was 125.4 million, a 4.3 percent increase in the global salesforce over 2019. That number included more than 65 million representatives/distributors actively working direct selling businesses either full-time as careers or part-time as a means to earn supplemental income.
WFDSA noted the impact of the pandemic on the industry, saying, “During 2020 and the global pandemic, direct selling experienced an increased use of online tools and video meetings and welcomed social interaction for customers during the isolation due to countrywide lockdowns. These changes were instrumental in helping direct selling representatives adapt and respond to the challenges of the pandemic and were a key driver of increased sales and representative growth.”
As for global business results, the $179.3 billion was broken down as follows (in USD billions):
- Asia (excluding China) – 57.3, up 3.5%
- China – 19.2, down 20.0%
- Americas – 64.7, up 10.6%
- Europe – 36.2, up 1.6%
- Africa & Middle East – 1.9, up4.0%
WFDSA noted that China’s numbers were down for 2020 not only because of the disruption caused by COVID-19, but also because the market was in the process of recovering from government restrictions imposed in the first quarter of 2019—specifically, the 100-Day Review of the nutritional supplement industry that impacted sectors of the direct selling channel.
The top ten markets accounted for 78 percent of the global sales in 2020. They were (in USD millions):
- United States – 40,100
- China – 19,183
- Germany – 17,967
- Korea – 17,748
- Japan – 15,411
- Brazil – 8,252
- Malaysia – 6,978
- Mexico – 5,277
- France – 5,130
- Taiwan, China – 4,462
The top product categories by sales were (in USD billions):
- Wellness (36.2%) – 64.8
- Cosmetics & Personal Care (26.2%) – 46.9
- Household Goods & Durables (14.4%) – 25.8
- Clothing & Accessories (4.7%) – 8.4
- FinancialServices (3.8%) – 6.8
- Books, Toys, Stationery (2.9%) – 5.2
- Foodstuff & Beverages (2.9%) – 5.2
- Home Care (2.6%) – 4.7
- Utilities (2.5%) – 4.5
- Home Improvement (1.3%) – 2.3
Founded in 1978, the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations is the leading international, non-governmental, voluntary organization representing the global direct selling industry in more than 170 countries through more than 60 regional and local direct selling associations.