A European perspective based on current megatrends

Direct Sellers will benefit from several megatrends, such as health and neo-ecology, while at the same time they will need to be creative to take advantage of New Work and adapt their sales models to the new digital realities and buying patterns of their future customers.

Megatrends and their impact on direct selling

“Megatrends are avalanches in slow motion,” writes the German Future Institute. “They name and describe extremely complex dynamics of change and are a model for the transformation of the world.

For me, health, neo-ecology, new work and connectivity are the four megatrends with the greatest impact on direct selling:

Health as a fundamental value is deeply embedded in our consciousness and has become synonymous with a high quality of life. Our increased focus on health, wellness and self-care will continue to drive cosmetics and dietary supplements – the two largest direct selling product categories. It will increase demand for novel and innovative products that require explanation, providing a major opportunity for direct selling storytellers.

The Neo-Ecology megatrend has established a new set of values that touches every aspect of our lives. The sustainability paradigm is reprogramming the codes of global society, culture and politics, and is fundamentally reorienting corporate behaviour and the entire economic system. The European Union, the legislative body for most of Europe’s economies, is incorporating green measures into every piece of legislation with its ‘Green Deal’, which aims to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. Many direct sellers who already have sustainability in their DNA will clearly benefit from this in the coming years – if their consultants learn to use these stories effectively in their sales pitches.

Post-COVID New Work structures are characterised by the blurring of work and private life, collaboration and remote working. This increased flexibility of salaried employment could be detrimental to direct selling, as rigid and hierarchical ways of working made the flexibility of direct selling more attractive as an alternative. I therefore see a unique selling point of direct selling at risk. I also see a danger in the continued rapid growth of the gig economy. The easier it is to earn a quick, predictable extra income, the less need there is to try direct selling with its cycle of sowing and reaping. What favours direct selling is the rise of the part-time work and new trends looking for more than a salary, such as fulfilment, mission, recognition and community.

Connectivity or networked communication technologies are fundamentally changing the way we live, work, do business, buy and sell. They are giving rise to new behaviours and business models, and their new technological capabilities are intervening directly in the various sales systems. They are affecting lead generation, the buying process and customer retention – putting omnichannel and new sales systems at the top of the priority list.

In summary, direct sellers will benefit from the health and neo-ecology megatrends, while they will need to be creative to use New Work to their advantage and adapt their sales models to the new digital realities and buying patterns of their future customers.

The author

Dirk Schiffner holds a European Master in Management from the ESCP in Oxford, Madrid and Paris. He joined Vorwerk Thermomix and the direct sales industry in 2005. Since then he has held various sales and marketing positions with well-known direct selling companies.


In 2022, Direct Selling in Europe represented $33 billion and involve 142 million Europeans, 85% of whom will be women.

Germany, France, Italy, Russia, the UK and Poland are the largest markets. Party Plan and Classic Direct Selling (Single-Level Marketing) are much stronger than in the other world regions, where MLM’s dominate at around 90%.

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