If you thought Amway’s direct selling model was doomed in the new digital age, here’s a reality check. The number of Amway distributors across the country has leapt to over 100,000 and most of them are Gen Ys.
This is largely thanks to a digital plan targeting young Australians. “Five years ago about 30 per cent of our distribution force was aged under 30,” says the general manager of Amway Australia, Michial Coldwell. “Now over 50 per cent are under 30.”
Coldwell says taking their print newsletters, brochures and other material online is a big part of their overall digital strategy, which also includes beefing up their social media presence.
Amway is one of the world’s largest direct selling businesses with a global network of more than 3 million distributors in more than 100 countries.
The company’s Australian Facebook page has over 23,000 likes and Amway global has almost 60,000 Twitter followers.
“We’ve had steady growth in number of people joining our business ever since we’ve launched our digital strategy,” Coldwell says. “It’s been pivotal in attracting additional people to the business.”
One can only assume that having more distributors means more sales in Australia – although Coldwell is quick to shut down BRW’s attempts to get their latest local sales figures.
A report from IBISWorld released in December said that in 2010 Amway Australia, which began operating in 1971 as the first affiliate outside North America, generated total sales and other revenue of $76.1 million.
To put that in the global context, in February Amway reported its parent company, Alticor Inc, reaped global sales of $US11.3 billion for 2012. This was up on 2011 sales of $US10.9 billion, following increases nearly every year for the past 13 years.
The benefit of going digital
Amway is among leading brands and publishers coming together on Thursday to talk digital trends at Adobe’s Digital Publishing Summit in Sydney.
The company is using Adobe’s digital publishing suite to create publications for tablets and other mobile devices.
Coldwell says Amway used to produce 100,000 hard copy magazines in Australia and New Zealand every month, but given that most of the people joining their sales fleet were under 30, they realised they needed a digital solution.
Since making the switch from print to digital, product material publications have been viewed 1.5 million times and downloaded 90,000 times.
“We have 35 publications active at present,” he says. “Through Amway’s [digital] bookshelf our distributors can download whatever we publish and have it on their mobile device.
“We’ve seen multiple downloads – distributors are sharing this material online with their customers, who are also downloading.”
Australia is one of the top 15 markets for Amway globally.
Coldwell says Australian independent business owners have shared in more than $US43 billion in bonus payments.
For the first time in more than 20 years, sales increased in each of the top 10 markets for Amway, including China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and the United States.
The global company spends more than $US335 million on research and development each year, recently opening new manufacturing facilities in the US, India, China and Vietnam.
Amway has more than 900 scientists, engineers and technical professionals working in 65 R&D labs worldwide. Its US facility has focused on providing Nutrilite – the world’s highest selling vitamins and dietary supplements brand. The brand makes about 50 per cent of the company’s product sales.
Amway’s other main play is in beauty products. It generated about 30 per cent of company global sales last year. Australian Hollywood star Teresa Palmer is the face of Amway product Artistry skin care brand.
Home products generated 22 per cent of sales, led by sales of Atmosphere air purifiers, iCook cookware, and eSpring water treatment systems and cleaning products.
Get more information, facts and figures about Amway, click here for the Amway overview.