Multilevel Marketing: How Is Everyone Doing?

Aug. 19, 2022 1:57 PM ETHLF, NUS24 Comments
William Keep profile picture
William Keep


  • Direct Selling/Multilevel Marketing continues its long decline in share of US Retail Sales.
  • Too little market for too many firms.
  • Regulators who are not going away.
  • Low barriers to entry and questionable consumer demand.

Collage of group of people using smart phones in city

We Are

What does one call a twenty-year downward trend? Based on industry data, the direct selling/multilevel marketing industry continues to decline as a percent to U.S. Retail Sales. In fact, at .84%, the industry is now at a level not seen in three decades.

This article was written by

William Keep profile picture
Former Dean, School of Business and former Interim Provost / VP for Academic Affairs, I am Professor of Marketing at The College of New Jersey. A 2002 academic article on MLM and pyramid schemes that I co-authored with Dr. Peter Vander Nat, then a senior economist at the FTC, has been frequently referenced. Our 2014 journal article provides an historical context on the same subject matter. I served as an expert witness in the prosecution of pyramid schemes in Gold Unlimited, brought by the US DOJ; International Heritage Inc, at the time the largest pyramid scheme prosecuted by the SEC; a private case between P&G and Amway, among others.

Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Recommended For You

Comments (24)

To ensure this doesn’t happen in the future, please enable Javascript and cookies in your browser.
Is this happening to you frequently? Please report it on our feedback forum.
If you have an ad-blocker enabled you may be blocked from proceeding. Please disable your ad-blocker and refresh.