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18 Controversial Network Marketing Statistics [2020]

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Has a network marketer approached you via email, text message, social media, or any other mode of communication yet? Have you been wondering what the business model is all about?  

Here’s the deal:

Network marketing goes by different names, such as direct selling, referral marketing, Multi-level Marketing (MLM), and pyramid selling. MLMs rely on independent representatives to do person-to-person selling as well as recruiting people to join a network.

Now:

This marketing strategy is full of controversy. Some swear by network marketing’s huge rewards, while some refer to it as an illegal pyramid scheme. 

According to network marketing statistics, some people have benefited from the marketing approach and earned money beyond their wildest dreams. For top earners, network marketing is a booming business that allows them to live luxurious lives beyond their wildest dreams.

If you’ve been considering taking the plunge into this world, the stats in this article will help you make an informed decision.

Top Statistics and Facts about Network Marketing (Editor's Picks)

  • 6.2 million people in the US sold products and recruited new distributors in 2018.
  • Over 10 million new pitches are made to US women annually.
  • The industry has grown by 1.7% of globally. 
  • The industry made around $35.4 billion in 2018 in the US.
  • In 2018, US direct sellers sold to 36.6 million people.
  • The majority distributors and discount buyers in the US are ages between 35 and 44.

General Network Marketing Statistics

1. 6.2 million people in the US sold products and recruiting distributors in 2018. 

(Radvocate)

This isn’t a small number by any means. If millions of people were working as distributors in 2018, this is an indicator that network marketing is a viable business.

Let’s dissect the numbers: 

Network marketing industry statistics show that of the 6.2 million direct sellers, 1 million were full-time sellers, while 5.5 million were part-time distributors.  

2. Over 10 million new pitches to US women are made annually. 

(FairWiki)

According to network marketing statistics 2019, network marketers make around 10 million pitches yearly to women in the United States. These women are mostly aged 18 to 54 years and make up 15% of the female population in the country. The number of pitches is commendable, and perhaps an indicator of the massive potential in the industry. 

3. The industry has grown by 1.7% globally. 

(epixel MLM Software)

Network marketing global statistics show that the industry has massive potential, with the top three players being the  USA, China, and Korea. The three countries bring in close to $90 billion in revenue. 

According to the figures, distributors should take advantage of the vast market available overseas to push for more sales and recruitments. 

4. The industry made around $35.4 billion in the US in 2018.

(Direct Selling Association) 

According to network marketing income statistics, this revenue was a 1.3% increase from 2017. The 2018 income is also a massive improvement from 2008 when the industry generated $29.6 billion.  

5. In 2018, direct sellers sold to 36.6 million people.

(Direct Selling Association)

This is one of the most impressive network marketing industry facts you’re likely to come across. Please bear in mind that this figure consists of clients who had signed a sales contract with the direct selling company, as well as those who hadn’t. Altogether, 10.4 million were discount buyers, while 26.2 million were preferred clients.

6. The majority of distributors are aged between 35 and 44. 

(Direct Selling Association)

According to network marketing facts and statistics, people between 35 and 44 years comprise 26% of distributors. Those aged 45 to 54 follow closely at 24%, while the figure for 25-to34-year-olds is 19%.   

The marketing approach is least popular with people below 25. Those aged 65 years come in at 8%.

Network Marketing Success Statistics

7. Only 1% of network marketers make a profit. 

(FCT)

Network marketing success rates show that 99% of people that join the business end up not making good money. 

You may wonder why only a few become successful. 

Here’s why:

Well, according to the FCT report, the commissions go to the top distributors. Experts refer to the top players as the Top of The Pyramid Promoters (TOPPs).  

Why is this so?

Top recruiters not only earn from individual sales but also a percentage of the sales of the people they recruited into the company. 

That’s not all: 

The TOPPs also earn from recruiters that their recruiters bring into the company. Could this be the reason why network marketing millionaire statistics claim that only those at the top make the big money?

FCT goes further to explain that it’s hard for any business to succeed within a short period. According to the organization, 39% of small businesses also take time to start making a profit. 

8. 33 CPAs reveal that 35 clients made large sums of money. 

(FTC)

According to stats on network marketing, tax professionals in Utah report having witnessed only a handful of network marketers make a tidy sum of money. As you may know, the state is one of the leading network marketing hubs in the US, serving over 25 network marketing companies.  

9. 29% of distributors stay as direct sellers long term.

(Epixel MLM Software) 

According to network marketing retention rates, just shy of three in ten people who join direct selling stay in the position for long. Additionally, 41% of those who join as direct sellers stay motivated to find income potential in the business.  

Network Marketing Growth

10. Network marketing sales hit a record $189 billion in 2017. 

(Mastermind Event)

Network sales statistics show that sales grew from $117 billion in 2009 to $189 billion in 2017. The same year, the number of distributors grew to 166 million.  

Art Jonak, Mastermind Event Founder, claims that both records were the highest the industry had seen at that time. Additionally, distributors got commission payouts worth $76 billion. The figures translate to $208 million worth of commissions daily, according to network marketing turnover statistics.   

11. There were $600 billion in commission payouts between 2009 and 2017. 

(Mastermind Events)

As of 2017, distributors worldwide collectively earned $600 billion, according to network marketing industry growth. As an industry, network marketing managed to make revenues worth $1.5 trillion in just 8 years. 

12. 45% of network marketing sales come from Asia. 

(Mastermind Event)

According to global network marketing facts, Asia is the leading continent sales-wise. In 2018, Asia made a total of $85 billion, followed by Europe with $38 billion, North America with $36 billion, and finally South America with $27 billion.  

13. Since 2009, the industry has seen network marketing exponential growth of $72 billion global sales. 

(Mastermind Event) 

The industry has grown to unbelievable levels over the years. Here’s the breakdown since 2009. 

  • 2009- $117 billion
  • 2010- $132 billion
  • 2011- $158billion
  • 2012- $167 billion
  • 2013- $178 billion
  • 2014- $182 billion
  • 2015 – $183 billion
  • 2016 – $182 billion
  • 2017 – $189 billion  

14. The United States and China are the top network marketing markets at 18%. 

(Mastermind Event)

Network marketing facts reveal there’s steep competition at the top. China and the United States pick the top spot when it comes to network marketing, with 18%.  

Korea and Germany also tie at 9%. Next is Japan at 8%, Brazil at 6%, Mexico, France and Malaysia at 3%, Taiwan at 2%, and finally all the other countries in the world at a combined 21%.

15. 53% of distributors make more than $5000. 

(epixel MLM Software)

When it comes to personal growth network marketing, it’s possible to make over $5000, which can boost household income by a huge margin. Most network marketing companies also give people the opportunity to work remotely, meaning that anyone can make money from anywhere in the world.  

16. 60 million people work as network marketers. 

(epixel MLM Software)

Network marketing recruitment statistics show that, with so much flexibility in the industry, 83.7% of the distributors work part-time hours, while only 13% work as full-time distributors. Giving options allows people with limited time such as stay-at-home parents or the elderly to make money. 

17. 52% of  direct sellers are either college or university graduates. 

(epixel MLM Software) 

According to network marketing stats 2019, more than half of network marketers have either graduated from college or university. Having a learned workforce could be a plus for the industry. 

Graduates can bring helpful insights on how to develop the industry. Graduates also give credibility to an industry where most skeptics believe that network marketers are not learned.

Failure Rate on Network Marketing

18. 39% of direct sellers cease being part of an MLM at some point in their life. 

(epixel MLM Software)

Most distributors don’t work long-term. At some point, the direct sellers stop selling to friends and family. 39% of direct sellers said that they cease being network marketers because they no longer want to pitch to family and friends.  

FAQ

Q: What is the success rate of network marketing?

A: According to network marketing stats, the success rate of network marketing 1%. The organization studied 350 network marketing companies and found that 99% of those who join network marketing end up failing. 

Q: How many millionaires are in network marketing?

A: Direct Selling Star claims that network marketing is responsible for making more millionaires than any other industry. As of January 2019, Direct Star shared a total of 15 millionaires.

Top of the list was Chanida and Nat Puranaputra, who make $14.4 million annually.   

Q: Can network marketing make you Rich?

A: Yes, according to network marketing stats, it can make you rich. However, you need to actively participate in recruiting and selling products. Otherwise, you might not reap any benefits. 

Thinking of the best way to make money? If you want to earn big bucks, direct selling can bring in the majority of the revenue compared to recruiting.  

Q: How much does a network marketer make?

A: On average, a network marketer could make the following salaries according to Indeed. 

  • Distributor – $81,775 annually
  • Independent Distributor – $ 5000 per month
  • Financial Representative – $1500 per month 

The above figures come from surveys from 52 data points that the company performed on 36-month-old data. 

Conclusion

Network Marketing has always been a controversial topic. However, network marketing statistics show that there are people who have started and maintained successful MLM businesses. 

That being said: 

We can’t ignore the fact that direct selling has been a revolving door for some. It’s good to mentally prepare yourself with the fact that like every other business network marketing has its risks and rewards. 

But as you can see in the sales statistics network marketing, it’s possible to make money through direct selling.  

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