1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

10 Facts About Direct Sales and Women

Home Party Sales and Face-To-Face Sellng Open Up Entrepreneurial Opportunities

By

Updated April 15, 2009
Direct sales is a female-friendly field, with close to 90% of direct selling done by women.

According to the Direct Selling Association (DSA), a national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods/services sold directly to consumers, over the years direct selling has created unique opportunities for women that have enabled them to gain greater economic independence:

The advent of the home party in the 1950s added a new dimension ... as customers gathered at the home of hostesses to see product demonstrations and socialize with friends. Direct selling offered opportunities for many who had previously run into barriers because of age, education or sex. The growth of the industry allowed many to become successful where no opportunity has existed before.
According to the DSA, the following facts gleaned from its 2008 National Salesforce Survey and industry statistics in 2007 reveal the vital role direct sales play in the lives of millions of entrepreneurial women in the US:
  1. Direct sales accounted for $30.8 billion in sales in 2007
  2. Direct sales employ 15 million salespeople, 87.9% of which are women
  3. The marital status of direct salespeople:
    • 77% are married
    • 10% are single
    • 12% are divorced/widowed/separated
  4. The age of direct salespeople:
    • 32% are 35-44
    • 25% are 45-54
    • 21% are 18-34
    • 14% are 55-64
    • 8% are 65 and older
  5. The educational status of direct salespeople:
    • 32% are college graduates
    • 29% have a two-year associate degree/trade school training/some college
    • 22% are high school graduates
    • 10% are post graduates
    • 5% have some high school education or less
  6. The percentage of sales made by direct salespeople broken down by major product groups:
    • 32.8% of sales are in clothing/accessories/personal care
      (cosmetics, jewelry, skin care)
    • 25.6% are in home/family care/durables
      (cleaning products, cookware, cutlery)
    • 21.4% are in wellness
      (weight loss products, vitamins)
    • 4.0% are in leisure/educational
      (toys, books, videos)
    • 16.2% are in services/other
  7. How/where these sales occur
    • 77.1% involve face-to-face selling.
      Of the face-to-face sales:
      • 70.4% take place in the home
      • 3.7% are in a temporary location
      • 2.5% are in the workplace
      • 0.5% are in other locations
    • 22.9% involve remote selling.
      Of the remote sales:
      • 11.4% are through the internet
      • 8.8% are by phone
      • 2.7% involve other remote means
  8. The geographic location of sales broken down by region
    • 31.6% take place in the South
    • 26.8% are in the West
    • 23.3% are in the Midwest
    • 18.3% are in the Northeast
  9. The method used to generate sales:
    • 64.5% involved individual person-to-person selling
    • 27.7% were party plan/group selling
    • 6.6% involved customer direct order
    • 1.2% involved other means
  10. The amount of time spent each week on direct selling
    • 31% spent 1-4 hours
    • 23% spent 5-9 hours
    • 22% spent 10-19 hours
    • 12% spent 20 or more hours
    • 12% spent less than 1 hour or no time at all
Additional information about direct selling and women is available at the Direct Selling Association website.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.