MLM Makeup Sales Falling
Written by Frosty Rose
While researching Mary Kay’s repeated claim of being the Bestest Best Makeup in the Whole Wide World, I fell into a (surprisingly interesting) internet rabbit hole. Euromonitor International, which did the most recent “partnership” study confirming that MK is the #1 Direct Selling Brand of Skin Care and Color Cosmetics, does more than just receive payment to confirm companies’ own top opinion of themselves, as it turns out.
In an article titled, “Direct Selling in North America: Adapting to Changing Consumer Behavior in the Beauty and Personal Care Industry,” the author shares some pretty damning evidence on the state of the direct sales model in North America.
While the overall tone of the piece was waffling, and did not take a hard line against direct sales, the data it shared indicates that direct sales has its lowest ever share of market saturation. Remember when I said Linda Toupin used to tout that Mary Kay alone controlled 10% of the cosmetics industry? Nope! The entire direct selling industry in 2022 commanded less than 10% of all beauty and personal care sales.
While there was a slight bump in 2020, attributed to sky-high unemployment (way to take advantage of the vulnerable!) and the need to connect (and lonely!), 2021 saw a sharp decline in consumer interest, and 2022 was even lower, bringing the trend in line with the 2017-2018 trend.
Mary Kay was listed as one of the few direct sellers that was able to increase market share in 2022, but the only evidence to back this up comes from Mexico, and the author shared no numbers or evidence to back up her claims. Hopefully, whatever newbies joined to bump the numbers all wake up (or run out of room on their credit cards) quick enough to ship those front-loaded orders back to Corporate and get a refund.
Tellingly, only 4% of North American respondents to Euromonitor’s survey said that they were influenced in their purchases by direct selling agents in 2022. Unsurprisingly to anyone living in the 21st century, consumers are more likely to be influenced by previous personal experience or recommendations from friends or family (apparently Aunt Sally who’s still wearing Downtown Brown lipstick and blue sparkly eyeshadow doesn’t count).
The author ends with a few recommendations for the industry to remain relevant into the future. I, for one, hope Mary Kay and the rest of the MLMs like it ignore all this advice and continue their downward spiral into irrelevance.