Founded in 1886, Avon is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and marketers of beauty-related products. This case describes Avon’s push into foreign markets via a combination of nationally responsive and globally standardized marketing strategies. The company has its own sales operations in 66 countries and territories, and it distributes to another 44. More than 75 percent of its sales come from outside the U.S. Avon seeks to develop a global image of being a company that supports women and their needs. It relies heavily on independent salespersons who sell directly to individual customers. Avon emphasizes standardized products that carry its global brand, but allows product lines and brand names to vary by country if needed. In
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Avon forecasted slow growth in the U.S. based on heavy competition. This is often why companies decide to go global. Avon also considered some changing socioeconomic trends that might impact their sales model. More women were working full time and direct selling models did not fit that lifestyle. Avon also recognized that less than 5% of the world’s population lives in the U.S.
3. Discuss socioeconomic and demographic changes that could affect Avon. In addition to the changing role of women in the workforce in the U.S., Avon must evaluate each country’s availability of salespeople and customers. The availability of women who want to work part time in direct sales is a key trend for Avon’s sales force recruiting. Also, are women at home and available to meet with Avon representatives? The increase in the middle class, particularly in emerging markets, expands the potential customer base. All of these trends impact the way Avon goes to market.
4. How might a global recession, such as the one that began in 2008, impact Avon’s operations? Some Avon products are considered by women as essentials and they will continue to purchase these products even in difficult financial times. However, many products sold by Avon are categorized by their customers as nonessentials. As the family budget tightens, customers reduce their purchases of the nonessentials. As profit reduces for the company at large, global