Avon launches incentives to reps in Mexico

The success of the program will lead to a wider roll-out across Latin America and could help retention and growth.

By Trefis Mar 5, 2013 10:47AM
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  • Growth in Latin America sales in Q4 was driven by the growing number of sales representatives
  • Avon launched an insurance-based incentive program in Mexico to attract and retain representatives
  • Success of the initiative could lead to a wider implementation across Latin America and the world
  • Mexico's GDP growth has slowed down, and success of the turnaround initiative in the country could help boost sales growth in the region

Direct beauty products seller Avon Products (AVP) recorded 2% year-over-year growth in revenue from Latin America during the fourth quarter of 2012. The growth was primarily on account of Brazil where sales grew by 10% year-over-year as the count of active representatives increased by 9%.

We observed similar trends in other countries in the region such as Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela. The direct selling nature of the business requires the company to maintain a sizable workforce in the form of sales representatives who act as its contact point with customers.

Avon recently announced the launch of accident and life insurance for its representatives in Mexico to attract new representatives and promote retention. Latin America contributes about 47% to the company's total revenues, and Mexico is its third largest market after the U.S. and Brazil.

We believe that the success of the program in Mexico will lead to a wider roll-out across Latin America. A wider footprint along with greater retention of representatives should support its efforts to turn around the 5% decline in revenue witnessed in fiscal year 2012. The decline was accompanied by a 1% decline in the count of active sales representatives.

The company's direct selling business model differentiates it from competitors such as L'Oreal (LRLCY), Proctor & Gamble (PG), Estee Lauder (EL) and Revlon (REV).

Insurance coverage linked to performance

The insurance coverage launched in a tie-up with Zurich Insurance would reach 150,000 people in Mexico, including the family members of sales associates. A similar initiative is planned for Colombia. The company has not disclosed details about how much the program is going to cost it other than that the costs in Mexico would increase by around 15%.

Avon Number of Active Sales Representatives

The company has tied incentives with the performance of the representatives under the plan. An Avon representative becomes eligible for the incentive when the sales targets are met. Also, the amount of coverage will be proportional to the sales they generate. We believe the initiative will help the company improve on its 4% constant dollar sales growth in 2012 from Mexico.

Mexico to measure effectiveness of turnaround initiatives

Avon is battling slowing growth in Mexico. The constant dollar growth at 4% in the fourth quarter of 2012 was slower than in the previous quarters and was at par with growth of the Mexican economy in 2012. The company expects a slowdown in Mexico's GDP growth as well as retail growth, which could have some impact on its financial results in 2013.

We believe that despite a weak economic scenario if the turnaround initiative in Mexico in successful, it would trigger a wider launch of similar initiatives in other geographies and thereby boost overall sales growth.

We have a $18 Trefis price estimate for Avon which is 11% below the current market price.



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