LifeVantage takes beating from Omicron; will other firms follow?

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

©Getty Images - JuSin
©Getty Images - JuSin

Related tags retail sales Supplements Multi-level marketing

Multilevel marketing company LifeVantage took an earnings beating from the rapid global rise of Omicron variant COVID-19 infections, the company reported recently. It was among the first reports of an earnings round that could hold similar sobering reports for other supplement companies.

LifeVantage, which is based in Lehi UT, is a network marketing company that was built on the benefits of a product called Protandim NfR2, which is a mixture of five botanicals: milk thistle extract, bacopa extract, ashwagandha root extract, green tea extract and turmeric extract.

The company began as a conventional supplement company and switched to the network marketing model more than a decade ago.  In that time revenue has grown from slightly less than $40 million in 2011 (the first full fiscal year under the new model) to more than $200 million today.

Earnings took dive in quarter

But in the most recent quarterly earnings report, the company reported having taking a step backward.  The company reported second quarter fiscal 2022 revenues of $52.5 million, which was an 11.6% decline over the same period a year previously. It was also a 1.6% decline over the previous quarter.

Revenues in North America declined by 17% year over year during the quarter, which the company’s management attributed to the ongoing difficulty of hosting in person meetings.  Even with the digital transformation that LifeVantage and other MLMs are undertaking, these kinds of meetings are still a mainstay of the business.

However, that decline was offset to some degree by a slight increase in the business in China, where the government has continued to hew to a ‘zero COVID’ policy.

LifeVantage has followed the lead of some other network marketing companies by making online transactions easier.  At one point about five or more years ago some in the MLM community saw the move to online sales as a threat the entire business model (who needs an ‘upline’ distributor if you can just buy the stuff yourself at the click of a button?).  But now more functional and ubiquitous online conferencing tools, companies are seeing it as a way to replicate online the kind of energy that in person meetings generate.  (‘Energize,’ by the way, is a favorite word for MLM executives to toss out in these earnings calls.)

To that end, LifeVantage has added a new chief marketing officer and new chief digital officer.

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