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Biggest multi-level marketing companies in the world

  • Biggest multi-level marketing companies in the world

    There is something to be said for Multi-Level Marketing (MLM), even though the mere mention of the industry raises questions about how it operates. Remember, Tupperware got its start in the living room of one seller persuading loved ones and neighbors to buy products with the signature burping lid. Though the company, founded in 1946, remains one of the world's largest MLMs, it is part of an industry some say promotes pyramid schemes, with pressure to sell and recruit.

    Every year since 2010, Direct Selling News (DSN) has conducted surveys on publicly traded companies and participatory privately traded companies. The research, which usually begins in December, is compiled into the DSN Global 100, a list of the top 100 direct-selling (network marketing) companies in the world based on revenue.

    To participate in the DSN Global 100, a company must submit a net revenue number validated by the CEO and certified by a qualified agent. DSN does not request confidential financial documents and asks a company only to reveal the annual revenue number that will allow it to be ranked. Stacker's research into the DSN data found that some of the MLMs in the top 50 have seemingly questionable pasts, while others do, in fact, provide avenues to personal financial success.

    Telling the good MLM from the bad is easy for some of the companies on the list that have used cancer-stricken children to sell their products, or that have been charged with racketeering. A number of companies in the top 50 are celebrated for empowering women, although some media outlets have questioned those assertions. Overall, the Direct Selling Association estimates that MLM workers, including those MLMs covered in this gallery, earn an annual median income of just $2,500 per yer.

    The ranking criteria include net sales revenue from direct selling operations before commissions and without value-added tax. Some companies that might otherwise be included are not listed because they declined to participate or did not respond in time.

    Read on to find out DSN's top 50 MLM companies in the world ranked by 2017 revenue.

     

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  • #50. Resgreen

    - Revenue: $326 million
    - Year founded: 2003
    - Country: Canada

    Toronto-based Resgreen, formerly called Uranium Hunter Corp., acquires, explores, and develops African uranium mining properties. Resgreen's sales crew is given the option to own up to a 100% undivided right, title, and interest in the company according to Bloomberg. African uranium is in high demand, with about 45 countries considering nuclear power plants.

  • #49. Nature's Sunshine

    - Revenue: $342 million
    - Year founded: 1972
    - Country: USA

    The Utah-based marketer and distributor of dietary supplements including herbs, minerals, vitamins, and personal care products, sells on a "health-to-home" basis. In this method of direct sales, members share their Nature's Sunshine experiences with friends and neighbors to attract new customers and distributors. In 2009, after a three-year class action lawsuit, Nature's Sunshine settled for $6 million for alleged insider trading and securities fraud.

  • #48. For Days

    - Revenue: $383 million
    - Year founded: 2017
    - Country: USA

    This Los Angeles-based multi-level marketer's model thrives on its simplicity. For Days' four-step program promotes recycling T-shirts to reduce landfill waste. To establish membership in For Days' "closed loop" system, participants must first pay a membership fee ($38 for one shirt, up to $340 for 10) and then order recycled, certified organic cotton T-shirts. Once the initial startup fee is paid, members have the forever option of swapping any shirt at anytime (even if it's been dyed, ripped, or otherwise altered) for $8. For Days recycles all swapped-in T-shirts into new products.

  • #47. Pro-Health

    - Revenue: $400 million
    - Year founded: 2007
    - Country: China

    China-based Pro-Health has made millions off its healthy home products, food items, beauty products, and daily care items since its founding in 2007. While many doctors have sounded off on the questionable ethics of selling nutritional products through multi-level marketing, Pro-Health has shown the MLM sales model for for nutraceuticals—healthy foods with medicinal benefits—to be highly profitable.

  • #46. LegalShield

    - Revenue: $457 million
    - Year founded: 1972
    - Country: USA

    Selling legal service products through MLM in the United States and Canada has yielded great gain for LegalShield, incorporated under the name Sportsman's Motor Club in 1972. The company has pioneered pre-paid legal plans for individuals, and the Oklahoma-based company has grown into a highly respected brand among its growing membership base. DSN reported on LegalZoom's record-breaking memberships and app downloads.

  • #45. Rolmex

    - Revenue: $459 million
    - Year founded: 2001
    - Country: China

    Person-to-person sales of Rolmex products, including cosmetics, kitchenware, and wellness products, have profited many of the company team members for 10 years. The company was featured in the book "Be a Network Marketing Leader" as one of the top network marketing companies worldwide, suggesting the business methods and sales of Rolmex are thriving in the multi-level marketing industry.

  • #44. Scentsy

    - Revenue: $468 million
    - Year founded: 2004
    - Country: USA

    Scentsy founders Orville and Heidi Thompson took the biggest financial risk of their lives to start their own business. Since recruiting in-home sales consultants to create a direct-sales business of aromatic wax bars, the duo has widened its products to kitchen soaps, bath bombs, laundry soaps, and perfumes. The company pays it forward by assisting non-profits, including Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation—although not always to its workers, many of whom (like most other MLMs) more often than not do not turn a profit working for this MLM.

  • #43. AdvoCare

    - Revenue: $472 million
    - Year founded: 1993
    - Country: USA

    NFL quarterback Drew Brees is the poster boy for AdvoCare dietary supplements, but the famous football player may have not been the best choice, according to an ESPN report that noted “only a tiny fraction of AdvoCare members earn anything close to a modest income.” Two prior Advocare distributors filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2017, alleging Advocare and its top-athlete endorsements are a pyramid scheme.

  • #42. Golden Days

    - Revenue: $518 million
    - Year founded: 1991
    - Country: China

    The days of the gluten-free craze are helping Golden Days turn a profit marketing Sesame Snacks and Paleo Bars. Touting a “wide range of delicious products that are absolutely bursting with flavour” on its website, the China-based company has become popular for distributors who hope to promote healthy living while also making some extra monthly income.

  • #41. Miki

    - Revenue: $535 million
    - Year founded: 1966
    - Country: Japan

    Miki was touted as one of the top multi-level marketers to work for in the personal care and household products field. Headquartered in Japan, Miki made its mark selling supplements derived from prune extracts, along with household products. With marketers in Malaysia and Taiwan, Miki is expanding into Eastern Asia.

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