Amway, the U.S giant in direct sales, is cutting 171 jobs. The job cuts started in July and will go on until December next year, per a letter to the Michigan Department of Labor by the company.

Amway with more than 16,000 employees globally declined to confirm how many jobs will be cut.

In May, Amway informed the state agency that it would chop 115 positions.

In the latest communication on Sept 10, the company raised that figure to 171.

Amway had announced 47 layoffs last week and said it was part of a restructuring exercise in the global Information Technology division.

The affected include personnel in Ada headquarters and the Amway facility in Caledonia.

“Most of those whose roles have been eliminated will remain with the company for some time to help implement a successful transition to a new way of working, which includes the use of two global vendors for highly standardized work,” said Amway spokesperson Anna Bryce in a statement.

Bryce said “recent organizational changes” impacted just over 1 percent of the total employee strength and included 47 of the 3,000 total employees based in West Michigan.

The market for Amway products

Amway sells Nutrilite health supplements, Artistry cosmetics, and home care products through a network of 3 million distributors.

Amway, abbreviated for American Way is a privately-owned family business.

The Ada, Michigan based company was founded in 1959 by Jay Van Andel and late Richard DeVos.  In 2000, the company was restructured as brand Alticor.

Among the Amway products in the health, beauty, and home care goods, the niche, Amway Home offers exclusive products in the home segment catering to laundry, surface, dish, and car cleaning areas.

In 2018, Amway and sister companies under Alticor clocked $8.8 billion worth of sales.

According to Bryce, the layoffs are the result of an “ongoing evaluation” to align Amway’s resources with “strategic priorities.”

 “We are focused on providing Amway Business Owners (ABOs) and customers the best experience including digital, data and analytics to power social commerce and personalized product solutions and training to enhance ABOs build skills for social selling,” Bryce said.  GettyImages-Amway A detailed view of the Amway Center logo before the final game of the 2018 AAC Basketball Championship at Amway Center on March 11, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Amway Business Owners sells the company’s products globally. But competition is also growing from global and regional peers.

In the U.S., Mary Kay is a formidable competitor in beauty products. Recently Mary Kay sponsored the Sunscreen Symposium in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Lucy Gildea, Chief Scientific Officer at Mary Kay highlighted the high demand for sunscreens such as moisturizers and suncare products.

Amway’s Asian counterparts include Vestige, the fast-growing direct selling company from India dealing in personal care, health care, and cosmetic products.

Other medium-sized competitors include Naked Poppy, Walker and Company, Dollar Shave and Purplle.