15 Fascinating MLM Statistics

Did you know that MLM stands for multi-level marketing? 

Would you like to find out more about this controversial topic?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we are going to reveal the latest stats and facts that can help you to get a better understanding of multi-level marketing and the industry at present. Read on to discover more about MLM statistics and why they matter.

Fascinating MLM Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • Multilevel marketing is a $36 billion industry.
  • More than 18 million Americans are involved in multi-level marketing.
  • Amway is the biggest MLM company in the world at the moment.
  • 47% of people lose money by participating in multilevel marketing.
  • 95% of participants quit within ten years. 
  • Roughly one in 13 adults have participated in MLM.
  • 94% of NU Skin sellers lose money. 
  • The bottom 99% of Amway employees work at a loss.
  • The DeVos family are some of the biggest MLM players.

General MLM Statistics: The Main Facts and Figures

Below, we are going to take a look at some MLM usage statistics and the state of multi-level marketing today. This will give you a unique insight into MLM trends, as well as MLM failure statistics and MLM success rates. 

1. Multilevel marketing is a $36 billion industry.

(Source: PR News Wire)

Did you know that multi-level marketing is worth this much? There is no denying that the opportunity to make money is something that people are very much intrigued by today. However, a lot of people lose money, which is something you will learn about throughout this post as well. Customers need to be better educated about MLM before they invest resources and time, both of which are extremely valuable, of course.

2. Two-thirds of people would not join the same MLM company again.

(Source: AP News)

There have been some incredibly interesting statistics about MLM, which state that 41% of people felt they were misled by the company in question when it comes to how they described the chances of them achieving monetary success. In addition to this, 62% said they would not join another MLM. On top of this, two-thirds of those interviewed said that they would not join the same company again knowing what they know now. What this shows is that there really is a lack of education and understanding when it comes to MLM and that people are getting involved without doing the right amount of research. Diving right in without the correct know-how is never a wise move. 

3. More than 18 million Americans are involved in multi-level marketing.

(Source: CheatSheet)

In terms of MLM demographics, statistics have shown that are are 18 million Americans involved in direct selling businesses or MLM businesses. Of course, direct sales and MLM are not the same things. Nevertheless, 95% of all direct sales businesses utilize the multi-level compensation structure. 

4. Amway is the biggest MLM company in the world at the moment.

(Source: Network Marketing Central)

There are a number of multi-level marketing businesses around the world today. However, the most recent statistics show that Amway is ranked the best company across the globe based on revenue, as it accumulated $8.80 billion in 2017. After this comes Avon, which amassed $5.70 billion in 2017. 

5. 47% of people lose money by participating in multilevel marketing.

(Source: PR News Wire)

When you consider the fact that 90% of people have stated that they got involved in multilevel marketing, it is very disappointing to learn that this is not a reality for most people. In fact, almost half of those surveyed stated that they actually lost money because of multi-level marketing. 

It gets worse:

27% of people did not make any money at all, according to a study that was carried out by the AARP Foundation. When you take these stats into account, it is worrying to see that the MLM failure rate is considerably high and that most people do not make out the money they set out to accumulate by getting involved in the first place. 

6. 95% of participants quit within ten years. 

(Source: Due)

When you consider what we have just discussed regarding MLM success rates, it is probably not a surprise to learn that the vast majority of participants quit within a decade. This is according to a report that was published by Jon Taylor, which claimed that MLM participants quit within a decade. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, approximately 30% of all small companies survive a minimum of ten years. So, when you contrast this with the 5% of small MLM businesses that survive, it is clear to see that the data does not make the best reading. This means that the average small company is going to have six times the longevity of an MLM company. 


There are a number of other statistics that have been revealed regarding the longevity of MLM. For example, one statistic states that at least 50% of participants quit within one year. 

7. The top 1% of Amway employees lose almost $1,000 per annum.

(Source: Due)

Earlier, we spoke about Amway being the biggest company in the realm of multi-level marketing, which is why this may be one of the most shocking you’re likely to read. But before we delve deeper into it, it is important to recognize that this data is a bit dated. 

Still, it is shocking to hear that there was a period when even the top 1% of Amway employees were actually losing money. 

8. Roughly 1 in 13 adults have participated in MLM.

(Source: The Balances MB)

This statistic gives you some insight into just how popular multi-level marketing is and how many people have been left curious by it. Roughly one in thirteen adults – i.e. those over the age of 18 – have participated in at least one form of MLM.

9. A minimum of $25,000 in total expenses is required.

(Source: The Balances MB)

This figure includes travel, advertising, computer supplies, giveaways, internet, phone, products, and incentives. This is not just a figure that the AARP Foundation plucked out of the air. In order to come up with this figure, the researcher joined a company focused on recruitment and worked full-time with the company for a full year. 

What’s more:

He did everything that the business asked from him, from attending the conferences recommended to purchasing monthly training products. Since this study was published, the costs have been reduced considerably, which is something we will take a look at next.

10. Only four people out of a study said they spent more than $50,000 on MLM.

(Source: The Balances MB)

Since there has been a lot of negative news regarding the huge expenses associated with multi-level marketing, there has been a considerable effort in order to lower the associated costs. This has been reflected in a more recent study that was carried out by the AARP Foundation. The participants in this survey revealed how much they spent on MLM. Of those interviewed, 23% did not remember how much they invested. 

However, only four people reported that they spent over $50,000. Furthermore, 11% said they paid more than $5,000. 24% said that they spent between $1,000 and $4,999. The vast majority of participants – 66% – said they have invested no more than $1,000 on materials, training, and the inventory needed for MLM.

11. 94% of NU Skin sellers lose money. 

(Source: MLM Statistics)

There have been a number of different MLM statistics that have been released in regards to specific opportunities. These statistics certainly give an insight into cost estimates and yearly earnings based on opportunities. Out of all of them, it seems that NU Skin Sellers are the least profitable, with 94% of NU Skin sellers losing money. In addition to this, 93% of Usana sellers lose money, as do 90% of Mannatech sellers and 63% of Life Vantage sellers. 

12. The bottom 99% of Amway sellers work at a loss.

(Source: List Verse)

Again, we go back to the world’s number one company for multi-level marketing. The overwhelming majority of the scheme work at a loss. Those at the top of the pyramid have an average income of $128,000 per year.

13. One MLM company was found to be targeting society’s most vulnerable.

(Source: List Verse) 

This is probably one of the most worrying statistics when it comes to multi-level marketing. There have actually been a number of companies that have been accused of targeting the most vulnerable in society. 

Here’s the thing:

One of the best examples of this is Vemma, which was a business that sold nutritious drinks. In Phoenix, Vemma started to recruit high school students as brand distributors. The company gave them details on “prosperous young people” with yachts, jets, and luxury cars. If that was not bad enough, they presented these young people with false claims on how they would be able to earn as much as $50,000 per week. 

While the FTC shut down the company, this was not before a lot of these students spent $500 on starter kits. Of course, $500 is minimal when you consider the amount of money that some people have ended up spending on MLM. However, for school students, it is a huge sum of money.

Which brings us to the next point:

14. There have been legal repercussions for a number of MLM companies.

(Source: List Verse)

As you have probably gathered by now, there has been a considerable amount of bad press when it comes to MLM businesses. And this has only been enhanced by the legal issues relating to a number of MLM companies. 


Herbalife is a good example of this trend. The company seemed to be a legitimate one at first. It has always performed quite well, and its stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange. However, a Californian distributor alleged that the business was operated as a pyramid scheme, meaning he was kept from making a profit. These allegations were brought forward in 2014, and a class action lawsuit was started against the company and was eventually settled for $15 million. There was another lawsuit filed against the company a year later, but it was dismissed. 

15. The DeVos family are some of the biggest MLM players.

(Source: List Verse)

Last but not least, you may be wondering who holds all of the cards in the world of MLM. The DeVos family are key shareholders of Amway. The fortune that they have accumulated from this has enabled them to become one of the most influential families in the United States. In fact, Richard DeVos, the patriarch, is ranked 60th on the Forbes list of the richest people in America.


So there you have it: 

Some fascinating stats about networking marketing statistics, including MLM demographics and insightful MLM statistics. We hope that this information has helped you to get a better understanding of multi-level marketing and the market at present. 

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