From 2007-2010, two Oxford University business school professors (Linda Scott & Catherine Dolan) surveyed 300 underprivileged black women who were Avon consultants in South Africa. Funded by the UK’s Economic and Social Science Research Council; this study had eye-opening results.

Many of the South African women shared stories of life before Avon, their struggles to survive, and the hardships they’ve endured. The opportunity to sell Avon products has drastically changed their lives for the better, enabled them to provide for their families, and get more involved within the community.

The study found…

  • Three-quarters of the women surveyed earned their primary income through Avon.
  • The women who sold Avon products for a minimum of 16 months earned enough income to support their family’s basic monthly needs (food, water, shelter, and clothing).
  • The median monthly income of all women surveyed was 900 rand ($110).
  • The median monthly income of those who sold Avon products for a minimum of 16 months was 1400 rand ($169).
  • Those who sold Avon products for a minimum of 16 months earned an income within the top 10% of self-employed black women in South Africa.

These numbers speak volumes for what Avon is doing in impoverished countries. They are offering women the opportunity to support their families, and live their lives in ways they never thought possible. It goes to show that in developing markets such as this; the income generated through direct sales is much more significant, and can truly be the difference between life and death.