A Look at the Top 20 Direct Sales Companies Across the Globe

There’s no doubt about it: direct selling is big business. Sales in this sector of the market have been on the rise for the past few years, and financial gurus have predicted that this growth won’t be curbed any time soon.

As times get tougher, people are looking for ways to either supplement their income or replace their current job with something that has more potential for growth. Direct selling and multi-level marketing companies offer those willing to learn the ropes the opportunity to set their own working hours, make decent profits on sales, earn residual income, as well as experience personal growth – all within a nurturing and enthusiastic environment.

There will always be skeptics, but the figures speak for themselves. There are direct sales companies out there making not millions, but billions. Most of the top performers are American companies, but there are a couple of fierce competitors in the ring.

Here is a list of the world’s top 20 direct selling companies, as listed on www.directsellingnews.com:

1. Avon Products, Inc.

Founded in 1886, Avon is the American grandmother of modern direct selling (who hasn’t heard of the “Avon Lady”?) With its headquarters in upstate New York, this über-successful single- and multi-level marketing company has been led by company chairman and CEO Andrea Jung since 1999. The Avon workforce is 42 000 employees strong and its distribution network is estimated to top 6 million consultants.

Renowned for high-quality cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, personal care and hair care products, jewellery and clothing, Avon enjoyed revenue of almost $10.9 billion in 2010, once again ranking this public company as #1 in the world of direct sales.

2. Amway

A recognized name throughout the world, Amway is still a force to be reckoned with 51 years after Rich deVos and Jay Van Andel first reached for their American dream. Based in Michigan and run by the founders’ sons, this direct selling company (under parent company Alticor) continues to show steady sales growth. Amway achieved revenue of $9.2 billion in 2010, with over 3 million distributors and over 14 000 employees.

Amway boasts a large product line: everything from home and personal care products to cosmetics, jewellery, nutritional supplements, clothing and electronics. This MLM heavyweight also partners with various companies all over the world, across a multitude of industries.

3. Natura Cosmeticos SA

With its headquarters in São Paulo, Natura is a leading Brazilian manufacturer and supplier of skincare, cosmetics and personal care products, with more than 900 products on its factory shelves.

Founded in 1969, the company has gone from strength to strength, and now has a million distributors and a staff compliment of over 5000.

Not only does Natura focus on innovative products; it is also prides itself as being an eco-friendly company, using natural products wherever possible. This socially and environmentally aware ethos may have something to do with its 2010 revenue of $3.2 billion.

4. Vorwerk & Co. KG

This stalwart of direct sales was founded in 1883 by German brothers Carl and Adolf Vorwerk. Originally involved in the manufacturing of high-quality carpets and upholstery fabrics, Vorwerk went through dramatic changes throughout both World Wars and, in the 1920s, was involved in the manufacturing of electric motors for gramophones. As radio overtook the gramophone in popularity, necessity became the mother of invention when the company’s chief engineer developed an ingenious upright vacuum cleaner out of a gramophone motor.  Once the patent was in place, the company launched into direct sales in 1930.

81 years later, Vorwerk has 23 000 employees, 600 000 distributors, revenue of almost $3 billion and a product range that includes vacuum cleaners, household appliances and cosmetics.

5. Herbalife Ltd.

Entirely devoted to the promotion of better health, Herbalife International is a leading manufacturer and distributor of nutritional and sports supplements and personal care products that have been incredibly well-researched and developed by leading physicians and experts in nutrition.

Founded by Mark Hughes in 1980, Herbalife generated revenue of $2.7 billion in 2010. The company, with a staff of 4300, delivers its products to 76 countries via more than 2 million distributors who are compensated on a multi-level basis.

6. Mary Kay Inc.

With its headquarters located in Texas, Mary Kay Inc. was founded in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash. The privately-held company is well-known for both its skincare range and its dedication to helping women achieve financial success and personal fulfillment.

Employing both single-level and multi-level marketing, Mary Kay products are sold in 35 countries via more than 2 million consultants who are backed by 5000 employees. The company showed revenue of $2.5 billion in 2010.

7. Tupperware Brands Corp.

When 39-year-old Earl Silas Tupper founded Tupperware in 1946, could he have imagined that his airtight plastic containers would find their way into the cupboards of millions of households throughout the world?

65 years down the line, Tupperware is now a public company based in Florida with revenue of $2.3 million, 13500 employees and 2.6 million independent distributors in nearly 100 markets worldwide. The range is updated regularly, with some classics remaining evergreen and others making way for new colours, sizes and applications.

8. Oriflame Cosmetics S.A.

Based in Luxembourg, Oriflame sells skincare and cosmetics that are in high demand in 62 countries, making this dynamic Swedish company one of the fastest-growing beauty companies in the world.

Founded in 1967 by brothers Jonas and Robert af Jochnick and Bengt Hellsten, Oriflame generated revenue of $2.2 billion in 2010. The company has a workforce of 8000 employees and 3.5 million distributors, who are compensated on a multi-level basis.

9. Forever Living Products

Forever Living is a manufacturer and distributor of aloe vera drinks, cosmetics, skincare products, nutritional supplements and beehive-based products.

With headquarters in Arizona, this innovative American company founded by Rex Maughan in 1978, generated revenue of $1.7 billion in 2010. Forever Living distribute their products via multi-level marketing in hundreds of countries around the world.

10. Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc.

Operating in 48 international markets, Nu Skin is another direct sales company that has enjoyed success from the development and distribution of cosmetics, fragrances, skincare and nutraceuticals, with products totaling more than 200. These are marketed through their three brands: Nu Skin, Pharmanex and Big Planet.

Founded in 1984, Nu Skin’s revenue totaled $1.5 billion in 2010. This public company, whose headquarters are located in Utah, has over 800 000 distributors and 1200 employees

11. Belcorp/L’Bel Paris

With revenue topping $1.3 billion, Belcorp was founded in Peru in 1967. This family business soon expanded to include a comprehensive range of quality beauty and lifestyle products that are now available in 15 markets under the brands L’Bel, Ésika and Cyzone.

With over 8000 employees and 840 000 distributors, Belcorp is a dynamic, socially responsible company that utilizes both single-level and multi-level marketing methods.

12. Primerica Inc.

Founded in 1977, Primerica is a public company that provides financial products such as life insurance,  mortgages, annuities, loans, mutual funds and legal services to millions of middle-class individuals and clients throughout the US and Canada.

Based in Georgia, Primerica generated revenue of $1.3 billion in 2010 and has a workforce of 2000 employees and 100 000 distributors who are remunerated via a multi-level compensation system.

13. Miki Corporation

Established in 1964, Miki Corporation is a Japanese company that markets nutritional supplements, some of them derived from Californian prune extract. The company also offers a range of skincare and household detergents.

Preferring the traditional direct selling method, Miki Corporation generated $927 million in 2010, with sales generated in Japan, Taiwan and Malaysia.

14. Ignite Inc.

If there’s one direct sales company on this list that will light your fire, it’s this one. “Turning energy into income” is the company’s slogan, which sums up what Ignite Inc. does. Founded in 2004 by American parent company Stream Energy, Ignite Inc. was designed to offer consumers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to get paid for electricity and gas consumed by others.

With headquarters in Dallas, In 2010, Ignite Inc. generated $902 million, and had almost 200 000 distributors on its MLM database.

15. Melaleuca Inc.*

Bearing the slogan “Clean Conscience”, Melaleuca is an American wellness company that advocates greener living. Amongst its huge range of more than 350 products are cosmetics, household detergents, personal toiletries and vitamins.

Based in Idaho, this environmentally-aware single-level marketing company generated revenue of $750 million in 2010. (The Melaleuca plant is a genus of plants in the myrtle family, known for its natural soothing and cleansing properties)

16. Omnilife

Omnilife is Mexico’s most successful direct selling company, having generated revenue of $750 million in 2010. With 5 million distributors using a multi-level marketing system to showcase its products, which include nutritional and weight-management supplements, cosmetics and beverages, Omnilife has independent consultants in over 20 markets worldwide.

Founded in 1992 by Jorge Begara Madrigal, Omnilife’s headquarters are situated in Zapopan, Mexico.

17. MonaVie LLC*

Founded in 2005, MonaVie is an American multi-level marketing company that manufactures and distributes beverages of high nutritional value. The drinks are made from pure fruit concentrates blended with açai berry extract, and are claimed to fight against free radicals, joint deterioration and suppressed immune systems.

MonaVie is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company generated revenue of $600 million in 2010, and currently has approximately 450 employees and 1 million distributors worldwide.

18. Telecom Plus

This London-based MLM company, operating as the Utility Warehouse Discount Club, markets itself as a multi-utility supplier, providing customers with the opportunity to save money on as well as make money from telecommunication services, broadband, mobile phones and gas and electricity services.

Founded in 1998 and boasting 30 000 distributors, the Utility Warehouse was awarded Company of the Year at the Quoted Company Awards annual dinner in 2009, and has seen positive growth, generating revenue of $600 million in 2010.

19 . Yanbal International/Unique

Founded in Peru in 1967, and still headquartered in Lima, Yanbal International is a multi-level marketing company that offers an upmarket range of costume jewellery, cosmetics, skincare and fragrances. 350 000 distributors and beauty consultants sell products from glossy catalogues and via the party plan.

Yanbal generated revenue of $600 million in 2010.

20. ACN

The USA slips into the last slot with ACN, a MLM company providing customers with telecommunications and other services such as computer support, energy services, home security, internet and satellite television.
ACN is the largest direct seller of telecommunications and home services in the world.

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in North Carolina, ACN generated revenue of $553 million in 2010.