Survey: Direct Sales via Contractors Reached $28.7B in 2002

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Direct sales increased 7.5 percent in 2002 compared with the prior year, reaching a record $28.7 billion, according to the Direct Selling Association's Annual Growth and Outlook Survey.


The survey, results of which were released yesterday, revealed that 2002 represented the 18th consecutive year of growth in the industry as the sales force increased to an estimated 13 million people in the United States, up 6.6 percent from 2001.


The survey is conducted annually and includes responses from a cross-section of direct selling companies. The DSA represents companies selling direct to consumers via a sales force of independent contractors.


Other results included:


· Home and family care products -- such as cookware, cleaning products and home decor -- account for about 33.5 percent of sales. In the previous year this category represented 33.9 percent.


· The next-largest percentage was personal-care products including cosmetics, skin care, clothing and jewelry, at 28.2 percent.


· Services and other products accounted for 15.5 percent.


· Also making the list were wellness products -- such as weight-loss products and nutritional supplements -- at 15.4 percent. Leisure and educational products totaled 7.4 percent.


About 90 percent of direct sellers work part-time with about 52 percent working fewer than 10 hours weekly. About 80 percent of direct sellers are women, and about 22 percent are older than 55.


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