If you're desperate for a job, beware of the siren call of the likes of Mary Kay, Avon and Amway
Puff pieces about the opportunities offered by direct selling are everywhere right now, but just how good is the opportunity? The financial results of direct selling companies tell a very different story:
- This morning, Avon Products reported that "First-quarter revenue in North America declined 11% (10% in local currency). . . Although Active Representatives were flat with the prior-year quarter, the company's recruiting efforts gained traction through the quarter leading to 51% growth in Representative additions in March." More recruits chasing fewer sales can only mean one thing: fewer sales per representative.
- Usana Health Sciences, which sells vitamins and other health-related products through a multi-level marketing structure, reported that "During the first quarter of 2009, net sales in North America decreased by 10.2% to $55.9 million, compared with the first quarter of the prior year"
- PinkTruth.com reported that the ranks of Mary Kay distributors fell by 14% in 2008.