How Big Is The Network Marketing Profession?

There are a few different names for the industry: network marketing, multi-level marketing (MLM), direct selling, etc. Network marketing is probably the best descriptive title. But how big is the industry?

Big, really big.


In 2015 total worldwide sales topped $183 billion. Amazing. And that was an increase of over 30% from 2011. Not only is it a huge business. It continues to grow. In the US alone sales were $36.1 billion in 2015. Any individual only has to have a tiny, tiny slice of that pie to do well.

Network Marketing Sales
Year Global Sales ($billion)
2011 $142.1
2012 $149.1
2013 $160.7
2014 $170.6
2015 $183.7



There were 103 million people involved in network marketing around the world in 2015. Compare that to the US Government (3.2 million) or Walmart (2.1 million) and you can see the sheer size of the industry. In the US in 2015 over 20 million people worked in network marketing – 8.3% of the adult population!

People In Network Marketing
Year Global Workforce (million) US Workforce (million)
2011 84.9 15.6
2012 90.5 15.9
2013 97.1 16.8
2014 98.9 18.2
2015 103.3 20.2



This was one the most consistent numbers – the split between men and women who work in network marketing:

Network Marketing by Gender (US)
Year % Women % Men
2012 76.6% 23.4%
2013 74.2% 25.8%
2014 74.4% 25.6%
2015 22.6% 77.4%


Yes, the women dominate. Consistently. Sort of surprising at first but when you think about the products categories that are the most popular (see below) it makes sense.


Here is how things stacked up in 2015 by region:

Global Network Marketing Sales by Region
Region Sales ($ billion) Workforce (million)
Asia $84.1 51.9
North America $37.7 21.0
South America $25.2 14.0
Western Europe $29.5 4.0
Eastern Europe $5.9 10.5
Africa/Middle East $1.3 1.7


Pretty amazing. Asia has some powerhouse direct selling companies – China, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia. In fact Malaysia is #9 in the entire world for total sales!

Product Category

As you can imagine, almost everything can be sold in network marketing. And it is. Not surprising, the Wellness and Cosmetics/Personal Care categories are the largest. Here are the details:

Network Marketing Product Categories
Product Cateory % of Global Sales
Wellness 0.336
Cosmetics/Personal Care 0.315
Household Goods and Durables 0.114
Clothing/Accessories 0.066
Financial Services 0.03
Utilities 0.029
Home Improvement 0.025
Home Care 0.02
Books, Toys, Stationary 0.019
Food/Beverages 0.016
Other 0.03



These numbers show the story. Network marketing is a huge profession – globally and in the US. If you are thinking about joining the industry you will be able to find the right program, the right products that fit your passion.

If you are interested in joining, check out our free checklist of the questions to ask. Do not go into it without knowing the facts. Click here for the free download.



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