ACN Targets Asia in First Market Expansion in Two Years

Essential services and health products firm ACN is expanding internationally for the first time in two years with the launch of operations in Japan.

Initially, the company is making its Benevita health and wellness line available to Japanese consumers. ACN introduced Benevita three years ago in select international markets, diversifying a longstanding portfolio of essential services such as wireless, Internet, and gas and electricity. ACN plans to roll out some of those services in Japan in the future.

The move into Japan puts the company in 26 markets worldwide. The island country is the first market ACN has added since July 2014, when operations commenced in Mexico. The North Carolina company branched into Asia in 2010 with the launch of its South Korea business.

“As the fifth-largest direct selling market worldwide, Japan was incredibly appealing to us,” said Greg Provenzano, President and Co-Founder of ACN. “But it was the people that sealed the deal when selecting Japan to continue our Asian expansion.”

The market will be served by a new regional headquarters located in Tokyo. In addition to corporate offices, the facility houses meeting spaces, a call center and a retail storefront. ACN’s Vice President of Sales, Danny Bae, will oversee operations in the country. Bae, who initially joined ACN as an Independent Business Owner, has been key to the company’s expansion into Asia.

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Amway Reports Sales of $9.5 Billion in 2015

Photo above: Amway World Headquarters in Ada, Michigan.


Amway Corp. on Wednesday released its 2015 financial results, announcing annual sales of $9.5 billion.

Despite constant-dollar sales growth in 70 percent of Amway’s top 20 markets, revenue fell 12 percent from a year ago, hurt by currency fluctuations and soft sales in China, where the economy experienced its slowest growth in 25 years. The company reported similar trends in 2014, when revenue dropped 8 percent to $10.8 billion—a performance that nevertheless secured Amway the No. 1 spot on the 2015 DSN Global 100, a list of the top direct selling companies in the world.

In 2015, the company’s top 10 markets were China, South Korea, United States, Japan, Thailand, Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia, India and Ukraine. Management also singled out Brazil and Mexico as emerging markets that recorded considerable gains.

“We experienced growth in seven of our top 10 markets, and emerging markets in Latin America and elsewhere continue to perform well,” Chairman Steve Van Andel noted in Amway’s report. “Several markets achieved record sales levels in 2015 with others producing their best performance in some time. An increasingly competitive environment in China and unfavorable currency exchange rates mask a positive year overall for Amway globally.”

Nutrition remains a powerhouse category for the company, accounting for 46 percent of 2015 sales. Amway Nutrilite is the world’s leading brand of vitamin, mineral and dietary supplements, according to research by Euromonitor International, and the company last year expanded the line with BodyKey by Nutrilite, a personalized weight-management program. BodyKey utilizes a genetic test or comprehensive, scientific assessment to provide a tailored plan for managing weight.

Beauty and personal care products accounted for 25 percent of sales, and durable products, such as the company’s eSpring water treatment system and Atmosphere air treatment system, made up another 16 percent. The remaining 13 percent was split between home care products and assorted other offerings.

Last year also marked the culmination of Amway’s three-year manufacturing and R&D expansion. The company has poured $335 million into strengthening its global infrastructure, opening five manufacturing facilities and a major R&D site in 2015 alone. Other investments included new digital tools to help Amway Business Owners showcase products and manage their businesses.

In 2016 and beyond, Amway leadership sees plenty of cause for optimism, particularly in light of its 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Report. The report, based on a survey of 50,000 people in 44 countries, quantifies attitudes about business ownership and the entrepreneurial spirit.  All told, 75 percent of respondents were positive about starting a business, and that number increased to 81 percent among those 35 and younger.

“Globally, more and more people are seeking an opportunity to do something on their own—whether it’s to earn a little extra or for a bigger commitment to earn more,” said Doug DeVos, Amway President and Chairman of the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations. “We’re well positioned to meet that demand with a low-cost, low-risk business opportunity selling world-class products.”

LifeVantage Slated to Enter Europe in Early 2016

LifeVantage is setting its sights on the European Union, with plans to open its first markets in the region early next year. Initially, the company will offer its wellness, skincare and pet care products in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, LifeVantage said Wednesday.

“The United Kingdom represents one of the fastest growing markets within direct selling, and their distributors are product-oriented business builders who leverage technology to drive their organizations,” CEO Darren Jensen said in a statement. “The Netherlands represents nearly $150 million in retail sales with more than 48,000 distributors in the country.”

As a whole, the EU accounted for nearly $33 billion in retail sales last year, according to industry research by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). LifeVantage plans to leverage its business in the U.K. and the Netherlands as a gateway to additional EU countries, with the Netherlands serving as its logistics hub in the region. The company will begin holding business meetings in the two markets in February 2016.

Utah-based LifeVantage currently operates across North America and Mexico, as well as select markets in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines. The company generated revenue of $208 million in 2014, placing it at No. 67 on this year’s DSN Global 100 ranking.

Nu Skin Stock Falls as China Troubles Weaken Sales Forecast

Shares of Nu Skin Enterprises hit their lowest price in more than a year on Wednesday after the company slashed its revenue guidance due to foreign-currency issues and lackluster sales in its China region.

In a statement released ahead of Nu Skin’s 2015 Global Convention, management stated that third-quarter revenue will amount to roughly $573 million. The seller of skincare and nutrition products previously projected sales of as much as $620 million. Analysts had set more optimistic predictions, with an average estimate of $622.6 million. One contributor to the downgrade was the strengthening of the U.S. dollar, which created a foreign currency headwind and negatively impacted revenue by more than $60 million compared to the previous year.

After climbing 6.6 percent this year, Nu Skin stock fell as much as 26.9 percent on Wednesday before closing the day down 25.7 percent at $34.62. The company’s expected third-quarter results would represent a year-over-year decrease of approximately 10 percent. For the last quarter, Nu Skin reported revenue of $560 million.

The shortfall also stems from weak sales in China, which accounts for 32 percent of Nu Skin’s total revenue. Lower-than-expected sales of the brand’s new cosmetic oils were a major factor, and may reflect economic conditions in the wider Chinese market, Nu Skin CEO Truman Hunt said in a statement.

“Given the successful launch of ageLOC Youth in South Asia/Pacific, we look forward to the introduction of ageLOC Youth as well as ageLOC Me in most of our regions during the fourth quarter,” said Hunt. “We forecast year-over-year constant-currency revenue growth of between 7 and 10 percent in the fourth quarter.”

In September, Nu Skin promoted one of its Asia executives, Ryan Napierski, to lead the company’s global sales organization. Napierski spent the past eight years in the region, most recently serving as President of both Nu Skin Japan and Nu Skin North Asia. Before transferring to Asia, Napierski helped to advance the brand in Europe as Vice President of European Business Development.

Nu Skin will release its earnings results for the third quarter on Nov. 5.

Direct Selling’s Strength in the World’s Billion Dollar Markets

by Andrea Tortora

Direct selling continues to gain ground worldwide, with global retail sales and the total salesforce both reaching record highs in 2014.

The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) estimates that retail sales rose 6.4 percent to $182.8 billion in 2014, up from $171.8 billion in 2013, with all regions and three-quarters of direct selling countries posting gains. The total salesforce grew by 3.4 percent in 2014 to 99.7 million people, up from 96.5 million in 2013. All of which lights the stage for coming geographic shifts in market dominance.

“The most recent figures highlight the increasing opportunities that direct selling offers,” says WFDSA Chairman Doug DeVos. “Customers seek personalized service and quality products, and direct sellers are able to meet those needs in a way that is convenient and enjoyable. At the same time, people who aspire to earn a little extra or launch a full-time business venture are drawn to direct selling due to its flexibility and pay-for-performance structure.  It’s exciting to see more people, both customers and distributors, enjoying the benefits of direct selling.”

As part of WFDSA’s annual global statistics gathering, data is collected in local currency figures, which are then converted to U.S. dollars using 2014 exchange rates for all years. When comparisons are made to determine year-over-year change, this practice eliminates the impact of currency fluctuation, explains Judy Jones, Market Research Insights Leader at Amway and Chair of the WFDSA Global Research Committee. The 2015 report comes with an expiration date of May 2016, when the next year’s data will be published. For some markets, sales are estimated until the respective country reports its official figures to the WFDSA. At that time, actual data is restated and accounted for the next year.

These most recent figures confirm direct selling’s strength and its ability to keep reaching more people—as sellers and consumers—in all corners of the globe. The industry’s 6.5 percent three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2011 to 2014 is evidence of that power.

The Top 5 countries account for 61 percent of all global sales. All but one report a positive CAGR (2011-2014):

  1. United States, 4.9 percent
  2. China, 18.7 percent
  3. Japan, -2.3 percent
  4. Korea, 8.1 percent
  5. Brazil, 6.7 percent

In all, 23 countries posted retail sales from direct selling of $1 billion or more in 2014. That group accounts for 93 percent of global sales from direct selling.

Leading the pack of the Top 5 countries once again is the United States, where the 2014 sales of $34.5 billion set a record and grew by 5.5 percent from the prior year. The U.S. CAGR for 2011 to 2014 is 4.9 percent. There are 18.2 million people who distribute products, up 8.3 percent from 2013. Nearly 75 percent are women, which means 14 million females are building their own businesses.


Overall estimated retail sales rose 6.4 percent to $182.8 billion in 2014, up from $171.8 billion in 2013.


Companies that are members of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (U.S. DSA) employ 55,300 people who are highly trained experts in their field. For example: 3,000 employees are science professionals, including chemists, biologists and engineers.

“Robust salesforce and revenue figures only tell part of the story behind direct selling’s success in the United States and around the world,” says Joseph N. Mariano, President of the U.S. DSA. “Our channel also provides …

Click here to read the full article in Direct Selling News.

Mannatech Million Dollar Club Tops 200 Associates

Dallas-based Mannatech is marking a growth milestone with the latest addition to its Million Dollar Club, made up of associates whose earnings have topped $1 million. The social entrepreneurship brand said Thursday that its Million Dollar Club has now reached 200 members.

Though North America accounts for nearly half of Mannatech’s revenue, some of the company’s newest million-dollar achievers reflect its growth in international markets, where total revenue increased nearly 4 percent in 2014. The skincare and nutrition brand, which ties its business to fighting childhood malnutrition through the Mission 5 Million (M5M) program, said that recent additions to the Million Dollar Club hail from Australia, Japan and Korea, as well as the U.S.

“Very few companies in our industry have ever generated 200 millionaires,” Mannatech President Al Bala said in a statement. “We have a commitment to providing the best products and support to help our Associates build businesses that last.”

The company’s current power products include the Generation Uth Skin Care System and the detoxifying Refresh and Rejuvenate Purification Program, which unite multiple products in a targeted regimen. Mannatech also reported the successful introduction of its MannaBOOM Slimsticks immune supplement into the brand’s emerging markets.

Former Avon Bidder Scoops up 43 P&G Brands

Photo: P&G Headquarters in Cincinatti.


The beauty industry is undergoing one of its biggest shake-ups in recent history with the announcement of a deal between Procter & Gamble Co. and Coty. Following weeks of speculation, the two beauty conglomerates have confirmed that Coty is buying 43 beauty brands from consumer products giant P&G.

The $13 billion deal—which includes leading brands such as CoverGirl cosmetics, Clairol hair color, and Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana fragrances—is part of P&G’s strategy to streamline its sprawling business and focus on marketing everyday staples like its Tide laundry soap and Crest toothpaste.

P&G said it will transfer the brands into a separate company that will then merge with New York-based Coty, whose beauty and fragrance brands include Calvin Klein, OPI, Sally Hansen and Marc Jacobs. P&G has shed about 15 percent of its portfolio of brands, with the latest round accounting for annual sales of $5.9 billion.

In early 2012, Coty made a similar $10.7 billion offer for Avon’s business as the larger company faced lagging sales that continue to affect its bottom line. After two months of back-and-forth, Coty withdrew its bid, citing a “lack of engagement” on Avon’s part.

The P&G merger will position Coty as a global leader in fragrances and boost its share of the color cosmetics market. In a statement, the company said it is looking to build its presence in major beauty markets like Japan and Brazil, where Coty partnered with Avon last year to sell its fragrances through Avon’s 1.5 million Brazilian representatives.

World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd: ‘I Can’t Live without My USANA’

Photo: U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder and Women’s World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd. (Nike photo)


Fans of women’s soccer witnessed history in the making during Sunday’s World Cup finals as midfielder Carli Lloyd delivered three goals for the U.S. Women’s National Team on its way to victory over Japan. According to Lloyd, who joined Team USANA as an Ambassador last year, the brand’s nutrition products and a lot of hard work are what fuel her game.

“Success doesn’t come to you. You have to go out there and work and get things done,” the two-time Olympic gold medalist said in a video for USANA. “That’s all I’ve been trying to do is go after it each and every day—and good things happen.”

Accomplished in just 16 minutes, Lloyd’s hat trick was the fastest in World Cup history—for either men or women—and the first in a Women’s World Cup final. She scored her final goal from midfield, driving the ball home from 60 yards away. The U.S. team went on to claim the title in a 5-2 triumph over Japan, the defending Women’s World Cup champions.

Salt Lake City-based USANA is continually looking to build third-party credibility for its products, which garnered 112 awards in 2014. Team USANA currently sponsors more than 700 elite athletes around the world with its nutrition and performance products.

 

Jeunesse Announces Acquisition of MonaVie and mynt

Two prominent brands in the health and wellness segment are joining forces in a strategic acquisition announced this week.

Skincare and supplement manufacturer Jeunesse Global has completed the acquisition of MonaVie LLC, a nutrition company that markets juice blends, energy drinks and shake mixes. The acquisition includes the MonaVie-backed mynt brand, which launched in 2014 as a platform to attract a younger generation of tech-savvy, community-minded entrepreneurs.

It’s the second acquisition for Orlando, Florida-based Jeunesse. In 2011 the company acquired GreatLife Intl., another direct seller in the health and wellness niche.

Jeunesse’s leadership was not aggressively looking to acquire, Chief Visionary Officer Scott Lewis told DSN, but they found the brands compatible in more than just the shared French origin of their names. The companies have developed similar cultures and established global brands. MonaVie is operating in key markets such as Brazil, which Jeunesse has targeted as a strategic next step in its international expansion. Through its mynt brand, MonaVie is also actively courting young entrepreneurs.

“From a strategic point of view, we’ve been trying to come up with strategies to penetrate Gen Y and attract a younger demographic as well,” said Lewis. Jeunesse has announced plans to launch the mynt brand in Europe this summer and in Japan soon thereafter.

Another factor that came into consideration was the loyalty MonaVie has inspired among its sales leaders. “We respected the fact that a lot of the top leaders who have been there since the heyday are still there,” Lewis noted. “There is a lot of attrition, but when you look at the top distributors, a lot of them have remained loyal.”

Salt Lake City-based MonaVie launched in 2005 and soon experienced exponential growth. After posting three-year revenue growth of 5,883 percent, the company appeared on the 2009 Inc. 500, an annual list of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. MonaVie ranked No. 18, with $854.9 million in 2008 revenue.

In the following years, MonaVie experienced growing pains and incurred considerable debt, which Jeunesse has cleared as part of the acquisition agreement. The company has not disclosed further details of the transaction.

“This is an exciting step forward for MonaVie and our distributors,” MonaVie President Mauricio Bellora said in a statement. “Our diligent work over the past two years has resulted in a right-sized company with innovative products and an efficient sourcing platform.”

Under the Jeunesse umbrella, the combined businesses represent a network of more than 4 million distributors in more than 100 countries. The two brands will carry on business as usual, maintaining their respective product lines and distributor structures, as they undergo a gradual integration.

“We’re not in any rush,” Lewis emphasized. “We want to get the company profitable, make sure they have the support to grow and see what happens.”

Nature’s Sunshine Posts Flat Earnings, Launches New Research Center

Photo: (from left) Gene Hughes, Nature’s Sunshine Founder; Kristine Hughes, Founder and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors; Utah Gov. Gary Herbert; Pauline Hughes, Founder; Dr. Matthew Tripp, Chief Scientific Officer.


Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NATR—Nasdaq) is shrugging off a rocky fourth quarter with the launch of a multimillion-dollar research center and its forthcoming entry into China.

The company’s nutrition and personal-care products generated $86.7 million in fourth quarter revenue. Earnings were 5 cents per share, coming in 18 cents below the consensus estimate of 23 cents a share. Like many companies operating in Russia and Eastern Europe, Nature’s Sunshine felt the adverse effects of an increasingly strong dollar underscored by geopolitical challenges in the region.

Strong sales in Korea, Japan and Europe boosted the company’s Synergy WorldWide subsidiary, which accounted for $30.8 million in quarterly revenue, an increase of 8.3 percent over the prior-year period. The results represent a 13.0 percent increase in local currencies, impacted by declining sales at Synergy North America.

Nature’s Sunshine reported full-year revenue of $366.4 million, down 0.9 percent from 2013, or a 0.5 percent decrease in local currencies. Operating income fell 19.2 percent to $19.0 million, compared to $23.6 million in 2013. In November, Nature’s Sunshine pulled out of Venezuela due to economic uncertainties stemming from import controls and inflation.

The supplement firm is forging ahead with its plan to enter China in 2015 through a joint venture with Fosun Pharma, which accounted for $2.2 million in startup costs. The brand has brought on Paul Noack, an industry executive with experience in the Asia Pacific region, to serve as President of China and New Markets, as well as additional recruits to its China leadership team.

Nature’s Sunshine followed up its earnings report with the grand opening of the Hughes Center for Research and Innovation, a new state-of-the-art facility located at its corporate headquarters in Lehi, Utah. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was on hand to officially open the 5,400-square-foot center, where the Nature’s Sunshine R&D team will research how nutritional supplements interact with the body at the molecular level.

“The Hughes Center for Research and Innovation incorporates some of the most advanced technology in the industry,” said Dr. Matthew Tripp, Chief Scientific Officer. “For example, the Flexmap3D can analyze 500 analytes, such as genes and proteins, from a single human sample, such as a drop of blood.”

The center’s research will combat health mega-trends driven by diet and lifestyle choices through natural, nutritionally therapeutic products, said Chairman and CEO Gregory Probert. The new facility features labs and clinical space, as well as exam rooms for consultations and clinical studies.