|Says:||Mirosław Luboń, CEO, the Polish Direct Selling Association (PSSB)
Ewa Kudlińska-Pyrz, President of the Management Board, the Polish Direct Selling Association
As many as a million Poles are cooperating with the direct sales sector. Customers usually buy dietary supplements and home appliances.
For several years now, direct sales companies have been doing very well on the Polish market. In 2017, they recorded a nearly 5-percent increase in revenue to PLN 3.3 bn, and the number of their customers increased by 2 percent to reach almost a million. A few years back, Poles would generally buy cosmetics, while now they tend to purchase dietary supplements and products and home appliances.
“The previous year was very good for us. We recorded an almost 5-percent increase. With approx. 0.5 percent of total revenue, we have a more or less constant share in the retail market. But the categories of the products we sell are changing. The proportion of cosmetics is dropping in favour of other products such as dietary supplements and other dietary products, which recorded increases by a few percent, as did home appliances,” Mirosław Luboń, CEO at the Polish Direct Sales Association, told Newseria Biznes.
Overall, in 2017, there were approx. 37.6 m transactions, with individual sales accounting for 92 percent of the whole revenue within the sector. The remaining share of around 7 percent were group sales during presentations, mainly at customers’ homes.
“It is difficult to anticipate how this year will turn out, but the data we have from PSSB member organisations are optimistic. Those first months were very good, and I believe we can expect the results to be similar to those for the previous year,” Mirosław Luboń added.
Last year, cosmetics, the most popular product category, dropped by 4 percent. Consumers were more willing to buy dietary supplements and other dietary products, and home appliances.
As much as 56 percent of all direct sales are cosmetics. This proportion is dropping year by year. This is because wellness products and supplements are growing in importance. They account for almost 15 percent. Home appliances represent 13 percent,” said Ewa Kudlińska-Pyrz, President of the Management Board at the Polish Direct Selling Association.
Companies from the sector are trying to adapt new technology, which is becoming widespread in commerce, and to introduce new customer contact channels. Currently, as much as 75 percent of orders are placed online or using mobile apps, while the popularity of email and phone calls is in decline.
“Customers’ expectations are constant. Firstly, they want a good product for a reasonable price. But apart from that, they are starting to appreciate advice. They don’t want to buy a product they know nothing, or almost nothing, about. They appreciate the fact that by contacting a consultant or a distributor they can obtain full information about the product, and can have a look at it. They also appreciate long-term relationships with consultants. The dehumanised interactions in online sales are starting to be an issue for them, and they are turning towards more personal and long-term relations,” Mirosław Luboń said.
The age structure of the people who work in direct sales is changing, the Association’s data show. Salespersons are now more and more often people aged 35 to 64. Last year, the number of people who pursued a career in the industry grew by 2 percent to reach 998,000. A significant majority, 85 percent, are women.
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