By Jami Gibson

It seems that in recent years, direct selling has become extremely popular. Companies like Amway, Tupperware, Avon, and Mary Kay have been selling their products person-to-person for decades, but other companies are popping up or gaining traction in the mass market to sell everything from wellness products (e.g. doTerra), clothing (e.g. CAbi), accessories (e.g. Stella & Dot), beauty supplies (e.g. Jamberry), skin care (e.g. R+F), food (e.g. Tastefully Simple), and other products. There are approximately 1,400 direct selling companies in the U.S. with total revenues of $33 billion, and the industry is expected to grow 3% per year from 2016 to 2020.

Most products are marketed towards women and are sold by consultants either directly, through home parties, or through online events mainly using social media. If you are a woman, I’m sure you’ve been approached by a friend to host or attend a party. A majority of consultants (75%) are women, and from my observations, many are mothers who work in the home and want to earn supplemental income or have a job that is flexible and lends itself to a better work/life balance.

There are some negative perceptions about direct selling, the most common being that these businesses are a pyramid scheme. Some also think they’re scams that promise consultants they can “get rich quick,” and that the products are over-priced versions of the same ones you can get in a brick-and-mortar store. Despite these accusations, direct selling is here to stay and growing steadily. I have purchased items from many of these companies, and have always been pleased with the quality of products, customer service, and ethical standards. I’ve seen it change the lives of some of my friends. As with anything, do your research before you buy!

In the near future, we will see direct selling companies taking advantage of opportunities for growth. International expansion, products geared towards men, and further marketing on social media will help these companies expand their customer base and tap into new markets.

Source: Hoovers First Research