Groundbreaking Study Reveals the Real Direct Selling

Click here to read the full article at DirectSellingNews.com


by Beth Douglass Silcox

Direct Selling News Study Conducted by Harris Poll Sorts Direct Selling Fact from Fiction

In the age of 24-hour news cycles and quasi-news blogs, the direct selling industry experiences more than its share of fallout from the recirculation of misleading statements and misnomers. Noisy voices shouting falsehoods often overpower industry fact, putting the industry, its companies and sellers on the defensive. Whether these fallacies are motivated by malice or just a lack of information, one thing is clear—the direct selling distribution channel is misunderstood, and too often misrepresented.

To sort direct selling fact from fiction, Direct Selling News commissioned Harris Poll to conduct a comprehensive online study among 3,549 U.S. adults 18+ between Aug. 19 and Sept. 2, 2014 to more deeply understand the direct selling industry.

This month, Direct Selling News presents some of what we learned—gleaned from the study Harris Poll conducted on our behalf. New data not only dispels several accusations made in the court of public and online opinion; but also advances the industry’s ability to apply a fact-driven, strategic, pro-active offense to better educate the public and potentially quiet industry opponents.

What we found flips five common direct selling misconceptions 180 degrees.

  1. When it comes to money, 93 percent of current direct sellers reported earning income in the last 12 months.
  2. While personal product discounts are extremely appealing to current direct sellers, 50 percent also served the needs of six or more customers in the last month.
  3. Most current customers (82 percent) thought their last purchase was a good value.
  4. Seven in 10 current customers (69 percent) are likely to speak positively about their direct selling experience.
  5. Despite leaving their businesses, 76 percent of past direct sellers rated their experience fair or better and 67 percent purchased from the industry in the past year.

Let’s explore the findings of this survey and break down the facts behind each of these five statements.

What we found: When it comes to money, 93 percent of current direct sellers reported earning income in the last 12 months.

People join direct selling companies for a variety of reasons and people quit for a variety of reasons too. Not all of them revolve around money, but when it is their motivation (40 percent of current sellers seek supplemental income; 23 percent want to pay down debt; 25 percent want to save for the future), direct selling most certainly offers a way to earn. The study found an overwhelming majority (93 percent) of current direct sellers reported earning some amount of money in the last 12 months and only 16 percent of past direct sellers reported not making enough money as the reason for leaving their businesses.


It is in the social business atmosphere that so many direct selling customers find the fun and pleasure in buying direct. However they interact to make the purchase, 87 percent enjoy it!


Of course, the amount earned is up to the direct seller, their efforts and the time they dedicate to the business. The median current direct seller income was about $6,200 in the last year, with most current direct sellers showing a part-time level commitment, as 70 percent dedicate 15 hours or less each week to their businesses.

The impact of time spent working a direct selling business is typically seen in earnings, so it is no surprise that some direct sellers earn more than others. While 27 percent of current direct sellers earned less than $1,000 in the last 12 months, 51 percent reported higher earnings ranging from $1,000 to $49,999, and 15 percent exceeded $50,000.

Apply the study’s 15 percent of current sellers earning $50,000 or more in the past 12 months to the roughly 16 million direct sellers in the United States, and some 2.4 million direct sellers earned upwards of $50,000 in the last year. This 15 percent of current direct sellers beat the national average salary for men ($45,188) and women ($37,076), as well as the national median annual salary for all Americans working a 40-hour workweek ($48,872), as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December 2013. (These salary figures were not provided by Harris.)


Apply the study’s 15 percent of current sellers earning $50,000 or more in the past 12 months to the roughly 16 million direct sellers in the United States, and some 2.4 million direct sellers earned upwards of $50,000 in the last year.


Those earning figures are impressive, but it’s also worth noting that salaries reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are for full-time employment. Direct selling, on the other hand, tends to draw people who want part-time employment. Four in 10 current direct sellers report their income from their direct selling business is in addition to wages earned in other jobs (41 percent), while 15 percent say they are in addition to retirement, pension or disability. Therefore, it is logical to assert that current direct seller earnings reported in the study (66 percent in excess of $1,000) could be the result of part-time efforts and most often provide a second source of income to the seller’s family.

What we found: While personal product discounts are extremely appealing to current direct sellers, 50 percent served the needs of six or more customers in the last month.

Naysayers of the direct selling industry depict self-consumption as a negative. With a broad brush, they denounce the existence of what they call “real” customers and minimize the efforts of millions of direct sellers who serve the needs of clients every day.

The practice of self-consumption—the ability of direct sellers to purchase products and services at a discount—is similar to membership clubs like Costco, where people pay a fee for access to discounted products.
In fact, the top financial benefit of a direct selling business, according to 84 percent of current direct sellers in the poll, is … Click here to read the rest of the article at DirectSellingNews.com.

 

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About Direct Selling News
Direct Selling News Magazine has been serving direct selling and network marketing executives since 2004. Each issue of Direct Selling News offers content on topics that shape the dynamics of our industry.

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