Amway recently reported that their sales for 2015 was down 12%, to 9.5 billion. At their peak, Amway sales got close to 12 billion. Link: http://www.worldofdirectselling.com/amways-2015/ The global economy has been a bit shaky as of late but what accounts for the huge downturn in sales? Retail giant WalMart, while their growth slowed a bit, their sales for 2015 was still up 2%, which is about (ironically) 9.5 billion. Link: http://corporate.walmart.com/_news_/news-archive/investors/2015/02/19/walmart-announces-q4-underlying-eps-of-161-and-additional-strategic-investments-in-people-e-commerce-walmart-us-comp-sales-increased-15-percent
In my opinion, Walmart sales is still steady because they have a predictable set of customers and repeat customers who make regular purchases. Thus even in a global economic slowdown, they continue to increase their sales. In fact, one could argue that Walmart sales would go up in a bad economy because you can find great deals and save money. Walmart has a policy that they will match any printed advertised price if you can find a price cheaper than WalMart. That is a great deal.
So what accounts for Amway's downturn in sales? In my opinion, it's very very simple. Amway does not have a stable and repeat customer base like Walmart has. Instead, they churn through approximately 50% of their sales force each year. Thus Amway's downturn in sales is very likely a result of Amway IBOs simply not replacing IBOs who quit fast enough to keep up with the attrition rate. Thus the sharp decline in sales. Add in a tough economy and who would want to pay premium prices for average quality soap or other household goods? I believe the market has spoken loudly and clearly.
I believe that in order for Amway to grow, their only hope is to continue to expand to new and foreign markets because you can find virgin ground where the name reputation of Amway is less known and not necessarily associated with "scam". In the US and seemingly older markets, Amway sales have been somewhat stable, which means they are likely able to recruit enough prospects to replace those who are quitting. Lucky for Amway that new people turn 18 each day because without adding to the potential IBO market, I believe Amway would be dead in the water in the US.
While this article only reflects my opinion, I believe it to be the truth. MLM and Amway apologists will come up with justifications as to why they think I am wrong, but I cannot see it any other way. People in general, do not like selling, thus a common approach taught by upline is to "buy from yourself" and be your own best customer. Thus it makes perfect sense that the downturn in sales is simply less people in Amway who are "buying from themselves".