Led by Nutrition, Amway Posts Record Sales

<p>Nutrition, including Amway's flagship Nutralite protein powder, comprises nearly half of Amway's business.</p>

ADA, Mich.Amway, whose portfolio of nutrition products comprises nearly half its business, on Tuesday reported record sales of $11.8 billion.

The direct selling giant said it was the seventh consecutive year of growth. Amway posted $11.3 billion in sales in 2012.

Nutrition comprises 45% of Amway's business, Sandy Spielmaker, Amway's vice president of Global Sales & Leadership Development, said today in a phone interview.

Nutrition actually led sales, the privately-held Amway said, citing its Nutralite protein powder and Nutralite Double/Triple X supplements.  The company, which operates in more than 100 countries and territories, also cited strong results in its beauty products category.  

"Our distributors are the driving force behind this remarkable achievement, supported by the work of our 21,000 employees worldwide," Amway Chairman Steve Van Andel and President Doug DeVos said Tuesday in a joint statement.

Spielmaker said this year marks the 80th anniversary of the Nutralite product line.

The global market is clearly important for Amway. The company is investing $375 million for manufacturing and research and development in the United States, China, India and Vietnam.

Analysts have said Amway's vitamin, mineral and supplement business is growing rapidly in China where the government has authorized direct selling but essentially prohibited the traditional multi-level marketing model in which distributors can obtain compensation based on sales from other distributors who join the company later.

Chris Schmidt, consumer health industry analyst with Euromonitor International, cites a number of factors for increased demand in China, including an aging population, rising income and an increase in the number of people moving to urban areas.

"While Asia continues to be a big market for us and a growing market," Spielmaker said, "We are growing in multiple markets around the world."

For instance, Spielmaker said Amway has a large presence in Columbia, Mexico and Venezuela. And the company may be preparing to pounce on another emerging market in South America.

"We are certainly intrigued by Brazil," she said when asked about the country.  

In Brazil, 65% of consumers are using one to two different supplements, according to research from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI).

Spielmaker cited a number of reasons for growth at Amway. She asserted the direct seller is attractive to women and young people who are seeking flexibility in their schedules and the opportunity to make some money. Spielmaker also declared many distributors are firm believers in the brands they are selling.

"Once you believe in something, when you get into our products, you become a product of our product. Your endorsement matters," Spielmaker said.

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