Subscriptions & Direct Selling

Direct selling and subscription services are two different business models that frequently go hand in hand. Direct selling refers to selling to the consumer without the use of third parties, which allows manufacturers to get to market faster, while subscription service translates to customers paying a recurring fee in order to access or receive an item or service.

On a worldwide scale, direct selling and subscription services are more common in specific regions. Additionally, consumers tend to use each of these options more for specific goods and services. Wellness, cosmetics, personal care products, household goods and durables are some of the more usual products provided by direct sellers, while examples of popular subscription items include food or meal kits, beauty, or hobby material boxes.

Retail sales of the direct selling industry in Europe
36.2bn USD
Leading direct selling company in the world in terms of revenue
Amway
Share of fixed broadband subscriptions in Europe
18.2%

Market size

Direct selling & subscriptions worldwide

Number of salespeople of the leading direct sales companies in the United States in 2021 (in 1,000's)

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Further details: Visit original statistic Number of salespeople of the leading direct sales companies in the United States in 2021 (in 1,000's)

The subscription strategy for goods and services has been adopted by many companies and subscribers can be found all over the world. In contrast, the concept of direct selling, which is also an international one, is much more prevalent in selected parts of the world. For example, the United States is by far the leading direct sales market, followed by China. On the continent of Europe, Germany takes the top spot.

Number of people involved in direct selling in the U.S.
Projected value of the subscription service market in Japan
Share of printed newspaper subscribers in Norway

Direct selling market segment

The modern direct seller

Number of direct sales independent representatives in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2014 to 2021 (in millions)

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Further details: Visit original statistic Number of direct sales independent representatives in Latin America and the Caribbean from 2014 to 2021 (in millions)

The direct selling business model, not to be confused with the direct-to-consumer model, entails a person-to-person sales interaction or experience between a salesperson (working for a parent multi-level marketing organization or on their own) and a customer. These interactions typically take place offline and at the potential buyer's doorstep. In 2021, there were over seven million direct sellers active in the United States.

Leading direct selling markets worldwide
Direct selling retail sales in the U.S.
Number of U.S. direct sellers by type

Subscription market segment

The subscription business model

Leading categories of subscription boxes shoppers buy in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2020

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Further details: Visit original statistic Leading categories of subscription boxes shoppers buy in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2020

On the flip side of the coin, the subscription-based business model refers to businesses selling a product or a service on a monthly or yearly basis, for which consumers pay a recurring fee. Some examples of common subscriptions include meal kit delivery services, pay TV, subscription and loot boxes, among other things.

HelloFresh
Monthly subscription box spending in the U.S.
Share of consumers likely to cancel their pay TV subscription in the U.S.

Industry leaders

Front runners of the direct selling & subscriptions market

Revenue of HelloFresh worldwide from 2013 to 2021 (in million euros)

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One of the most successful direct sellers worldwide is Amway, which is a multi-level marketing company that focuses on selling health, beauty, and similar goods. Other high rollers include Avon Products, Herbalife International, and Nu Skin Enterprises. While there are many subscription box companies in various industries, some examples of renowned and up-and-coming enterprises are Casper, HelloFresh, Loot Crate, and BarkBox.

Number of Peloton subscriptions worldwide
Amway's sales revenue worldwide
Global number of Nu Skin customers worldwide

State of the industry

  • Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc.
  • Frontier Communications
  • Cable TV in the United States
  • Mobile communications in the UK
  • Meal kits in the U.S.
  • Peloton
  • Subscriptions & direct selling in the U.S.
  • Consumer Trends 2022

Industry definition

The subscriptions & direct selling category provides data and insights on various products, services, and enterprises in both sub-branches. For direct selling, Statista offers the latest statistics, dossiers, and reports that deal with topics, such as direct sales figures, independent sales representatives, and what companies are leading the market. In terms of subscriptions, interesting data on leading subscription-based services, global subscriber counts, and consumer behavior, etc. can be found here.

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