In 2021, direct selling recorded only slight growth compared with 2020, during which the channel saw a considerable surge in value sales amidst the pandemic. This additional growth in 2021 came despite ongoing restrictions for the channel during the lengthy lockdown in the first half of the year, as physical selling events were mostly cancelled, once again.
In 2021, Vorwerk Deutschland Stiftung & Co KG remained on a strong growth path, following a pandemic-induced surge in sales in 2020. The company was able to carry over the growth momentum into the new year amidst the renewed lockdown by also offering its flagship Thermomix product directly online, a first for the company.
Similar to Vorwerk, Mary Kay continued to benefit from high demand for its specific product range of beauty and personal care items in 2021. Driven by a greater consumer focus on hygiene during the pandemic, hand care and facial care products continued to drive sales in 2021, while ongoing virtual meetings fuelled demand for beauty products.
Over the forecast period direct selling is expected to remain on a growth path, fuelled by the rapid increase in diversity and flexibility the channel has seen since the outbreak of the pandemic. A swift digital push has resulted in additional sales opportunities, particularly as new channels, including social media, have strengthened the ability of direct sellers to reach out to and acquire new customers amongst the younger age groups.
Over the forecast period direct sellers are expected to shift further online, following the initial shock to their business model after the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. While previously there was typically a clear distinction between direct sellers and online players, evidenced for instance by Vorwerk and Tupperware not selling online, this has since changed considerably, providing an additional channel for consumers.
In the years ahead, an effective combination of innovative digital capabilities with traditional sales events is expected to determine the continued success of direct sellers. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, its impact has shown that direct sellers with a high level of digital readiness were able to best cope with the changed circumstances, even taking advantage of rapidly emerging opportunities, while others saw their businesses implode due to pandemic-related restrictions.
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Direct selling is the marketing of consumer goods directly to consumers, generally in their homes or the homes of others, at their workplace, and other places away from permanent retail locations. Direct selling occurs in two primary ways: On a one-to-one basis (usually by prior arrangement a demonstration is given by a direct seller to a customer) or on a party-plan basis (selling through explanation and demonstration of products to a group of prospective customers by a direct seller usually in the home of a host(ess) who invites other persons for this purpose). Avon stands as a prime example of a direct seller using one-to-one selling, whereas Tupperware is famous for its party-plan method. Direct selling of services - such as insurance, telecoms, other utilities, and financial services - are excluded.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Direct Selling research and analysis database.
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