Direct selling was the slowest-growing area of non-store retailing in 2018 and is expected to remain so over the forecast period. This will result in part from the limited potential for expansion of the representative force in Bulgaria due to low and stable levels of unemployment.
Direct selling faces significant competition from internet retailing, which is increasingly appealing to its core base of consumers who are not well-served by store-based channels. Increasing access to broadband internet, the proliferation of smartphones, greater credit and debit card ownership and growing consumer confidence in online payment are all boosting internet retailing and providing a more challenging competitive environment for direct sellers.
Consumer health, and food and drink are expected to be the fastest-growing direct selling categories over the forecast period. Consumer health is benefiting from rising consumer interest in health and nutrition and the fact that consumers appreciate being able to discuss products with sales representatives before purchasing.
Avon Products retained the lead in direct selling in 2018, as it benefited from the fact that beauty and personal care accounts for more than half of direct selling value sales. The company saw some decline in value share over the review period, though it stood up well considering that the proportion of overall direct selling sales generated by beauty and personal care fell by 10 percentage points between 2013 and 2018.
Oriflame, the second largest player in direct selling, is also strongly focused on beauty and personal care, though it increasingly targeted the wellness trend as the review period progressed, with products such as shakes, food additives, protein bars, and soups. The shifting emphasis of Oriflame’s offer illustrates the increasing significance of health and wellness to direct selling, a fact underlined by the dynamism of players with a strong focus on wellness products.
Aquasource and Forever Living also registered strong increase in sales in the final year of the review period driven by the health and wellness trend. Aquasource places an emphasis on its use of “natural source ingredients”, while Forever Living’s offer includes a wide range of drinks and gels, weight management and nutrition products containing aloe vera and bee products.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Retailing market research database.