Herbalife is among numerous multilevel marketers of dietary supplements and other products that reported declines in their annual sales.

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

February 15, 2024

2 Min Read
Herbalife Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE: HLF), the multilevel marketer of protein shakes and bars, vitamins and other products, on Wednesday reported a modest increase in fourth-quarter sales over the previous year.

For the three months that ended on Dec. 31, sales rose 2.9% to $1.2 billion. It was the fourth consecutive quarter that “sales trends” improved year over year, the global nutrition company said in its annual results.

Year over year, Herbalife's sales in the third quarter declined 1.1%, fell 5.7% in the second quarter, and dipped 6.3% in the first quarter.

For the 2023 year, Herbalife’s sales ($5.1 billion) were down 2.7%. Los Angeles-based Herbalife is not the only MLM whose sales shrank over the last year.

Annual revenues at Salt Lake City-based USANA Health Sciences Inc. (NYSE: USNA) dropped 8% to $921 million in 2023 from $999 million in 2022, according to its annual results. Fourth-quarter revenues fell 3% to $221 million from $228 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.

USANA’s “salesforce is still having a hard time engaging strapped consumers around the world, and management mentioned that having a premium-priced positioning is not helping, as there could be some trading-down behavior,” analyst Linda Bolton Weiser of D.A. Davidson wrote in an Oct. 25, 2023, institutional equity research note, after the MLM lowered its 2023 guidance.

Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: NUS), based in Provo, Utah, is struggling too. It reported fourth-quarter sales of $488.6 million, down 6% from $522.3 million in the same period the prior year. Annual sales dropped 12% to $1.97 billion from $2.23 billion.

Ryan Napierski, president and CEO of Nu Skin, said in a news release that “persistent macro-economic pressures and disruptions associated with transforming” the business impacted the firm’s progress.

The economic pressures facing consumers are impacting other companies selling dietary supplement products beyond MLMs. Consider microalgae producer Cyanotech, which reported reduced sales and continued losses in a recent revenue report.

“Industry data shows consumers are not pulling back from dietary supplements, but they have begun trading down to private label brands to save on costs,” Cyanotech’s president and CEO Matthew K. Custer said.

Looking ahead in 2024, Herbalife is among the MLMs aiming to increase sales — and its in-person events may support the undertaking. Last year “marked the company’s full return to in-person events, which were met with an overwhelming positive response from distributors, providing opportunities to re-establish connections and share best practices,” according to Herbalife’s news release.

The company reported it hosted nine so-called Extravaganzas around the world with nearly 125,000 attendees, as well as thousands of other education and training events led by distributors and the corporation.

Michael Johnson, Herbalife CEO and chairman, is riding that momentum, noting, “Our charge is clear — sales growth, margin expansion and maximizing shareholder value.”

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the health and nutrition industry.
Join 37,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like