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Industry Statistics and Research

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Industry Statistics and Research

The direct selling industry is a dynamic segment of our economy, with 1.2 million Canadians involved on the selling side and over 14 million involved as consumers. Industry and economic data backs up the importance of direct selling to Canada.

To support direct selling, the DSA completes a regular Socio-Economic Impact Study, coordinates other research projects and collects data from third-party sources, such as Statistics Canada, the US Direct Selling Association and the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations.

Industry Statistics

Canadian Industry

  • 200+ companies utilizing a direct selling model in Canada
  • 1.2 million independent sales consultants (ISCs)
  • $3.5 billion in annual sales
  • $1.21 billion in annual personal revenue to ISCs
  • $1.31 billion in national and local taxes paid out annually:
    • $886 million in direct tax revenue
    • $424 million in indirect and induced tax revenues.
  • $7.3 billion total economic impact (direct & indirect benefits)

Global Industry

  • US $189.6 billion in annual sales
  • Over 100 million independent sales consultants
  • Canada is one of 24 countries with sales exceeding one billion US dollars in 2018
  • Canada ranks fourteenth globally in direct selling sales in 2018


  • Geographic Split: Rural (23%); urban (45%); suburban (32%)
  • Age Ranges: 18-34 = 29%; 35-49 = 35%; 50-64 = 26%; 65+ = 10%
  • Top Reasons for Utilizing Direct Selling:
    • Product Quality (87%);
    • Relationship with ISC (86%);
    • Customer Service (67%);
    • Brand (54%);
    • Convenience (47%); and
    • Value (53%)

Independent Sales Consultants (ISCs)

  • 1.2 million ISCs across Canada
  • Gender: 82% female; 18% male
  • Geographic Split: 31% rural; 36% urban; 33% suburban
  • Age Ranges: 18-34 = 29%; 35-54 = 34%; 55-64 = 17%; 65+ = 11%
  • Primary Language: English is the primary language for 70% of ISCs; French for 24%; other primary languages include Mandarin, Cantonese, Hindi, Spanish, Italian, German, Punjabi, Arabic, and Portuguese
  • Marital Status: 70% married/cohabiting; 19% never married; 9% are divorced or separated; 3% widowed
  • Distribution by Province: There are ISCs in every province and territory of Canada, ranging from 29% of total ISCs in Ontario and 17% in Alberta to 0.1% in the Northwest Territories and 3% in Nova Scotia
  • Charity: 91% of ISCs give to charity (compared to a national average of 85%.)
  • Education: 7% of ISCs have graduate or professional degrees; 25% have undergraduate degrees; 46% have completed some post-secondary education; 18% have graduated from high school; 3% have not graduated from high school
  • 95% of ISCs would recommend becoming an ISC to others
  • 23% have been an ISC for more than 10 years
  • Percentage of ISC household income from direct selling: 81% derive less than 10%; 16% derive 10%-49%; 3% derive 50%+.
*Statistical information comes from multiple sources including the 2019 Socio-Economic Impact of Direct Selling in Canada and is updated as new data becomes available.

Industry Research

Interest and Impressions of Direct Selling Industry Research Paper
In mid-July 2020, DSA Canada commissioned an independent consumer research initiative to help provide insights into the Canadian economy, consumer motivations and sentiment towards the direct selling industry.

The survey asked a series of questions to a representative group of Canadians, ensuring an accurate picture according to age, gender, educational attainment and region. DSA Canada hopes to complete similar research annually, to track changes in industry perception.

Key Findings

  • A third (32%) of Canadians experienced a decline in their income or lost their income entirely in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Almost 4 in 10 (37%) intend to pursue opportunities to make additional money to support their income over the next year.
  • About half (45%) don’t consider a direct selling business to be a realistic option to make additional income. While 22% feel that it’s at least realistic enough.
  • Younger Canadians, those employed full-time, and students consider direct selling to be more of a realistic option.
  • Consideration of a direct selling business as a source of additional income vastly increases with Canadians’ who worry about their long-term finances and being able to pay their bills.
  • Canadians are split in their views of the direct selling industry (33% positive vs. 35% negative).

A copy of the full research paper is available to DSA Canada members. Download the Interest and Impressions of the Direct Selling Industry paper.