Riding the wave of entrepreneurship among the middle classes, Avon became a social phenomenon during the 20th century. While Avon can no longer claim to be the powerful brand they once were, they remain a household name in the 21st century. In May 2017, the company had over 18 million followers on Facebook, placing it in fourth among the global beauty giants. The firm should be seen as having a significant online presence overall, given Avon’s beauty videos had claimed over 55 million views on YouTube by February 2017.
Despite the prominence of the company’s global image, Avon has experienced significant financial problems in recent years. Between 2011 and 2016, Avon’s total revenue dropped from around 9.23 billion U.S. dollars to around 5.72 billion. Unfortunately for Avon, the decline was not contained to one geographic region. The breakdown of revenue from 2013 to 2015 paints a bleak picture in which a downturn in any one region cannot be blamed for the global demise. Unsurprisingly, these drops saw Avon’s total operating profits slashed by half.
The sharp decline in financial returns has prompted a rethink in the firm’s strategies with the door-to-door approach coming under fire in the internet age. According to a 2016 survey, 61 percent of consumers who conducted beauty activities online used the internet to make purchases. As the internet moves from being solely a consumer information source to a retail platform, it is hard to see which doors Avon’s numerous sales representatives will be knocking on next. This is not to say that consumers are not aware of Avon as a brand. In a 2017 survey of U.S. women, 80 percent of respondents reported that they were familiar with Avon, making it one of the most well-known cosmetic brands in the United States. However, only 16 percent of U.S. women use Avon on a regular basis.