English summary on income chances Amway Germany

How much can you earn by “doing Amway”? Can you become rich with Amway? Can you become financially independent? These are central questions for current and future distributors.
Some enthusiastic Amway members make impressive promises to recruit new members. During my six-month empirical research in Amway Germany (Groß, 2008), I was told in interviews and informal talks that Amway allows people to become “financially independent” – a status that was connected with the level of “Diamond” in Amway and a monthly provision of € 16,000-18,000 (Schwarz & Schwarz, 2001).

As others have previously done for other countries,[1], I tried to find out more about the commissions paid in Amway Germany. Official numbers about how much distributors earn do not exist – although the official German regulations ask distributors to give precisely such information to their (potential) recruits (Amway GmbH (Ed.), 2004).

However, two other sources help to gain insights into the level of commissions: an official success book “My way to Crown Ambassador” of the so-called “Schwarz-Diamond-Connection” (Schwarz & Schwarz, 2001) and the estimated average monthly purchase of German Amway distributors.

In table 1 I show data from the official success book (Schwarz & Schwarz, 2001). The left column refers to the level of success. The right column shows the turnover of the whole Downline per level. As the success book (Schwarz & Schwarz, 2001) does not give the group turnover of the Diamond and the Crown Ambassador level, these were calculated/estimated in proportion to the lower levels of success.

Table 1: Official data about provision per level at AW (Groß, 2008: 188)

Monthly commission
in €
Monthly commission without Founders’
Volume Incentive in €

Turnover of
Downline in €
Platinum, p. 20

Ruby, p. 22

Diamond, p. 26

506,000 (calculated)
Crown Ambassador,
p. 32
~1.69 m. (estimated)

The monthly commissions published in the success book are meant to impress existing and new distributors. However, the data also says something about the turnovers needed on the different levels of success, e.g. € 1,69 million per month for a Crown Ambassador. In table 2, I combine these turnovers with the average monthly purchase of Amway members in Germany. According to the company itself, Amway has 85,000 distributors in this country. They produced a turnover of € 111 million in the business year 2003/2004.[2] This includes the membership fee, estimated to be € 4 million. Without this, each distributor buys goods for € 113 per month from the company on average. Based on this average purchase I calculated how many members are needed for each level of success. The level of Platinum needs 177 members to reach a monthly turnover of € 20,000, i.e. 176 “average members” in one’s own Downline. This implies that only one out of 177 can be a Platinum, i.e. 0.57% of all members.
Table 2 does not show what an individual member earns as this depends on the composition of the respective Downline. In fact, the table makes an even stronger claim: It proofs how small the share of people is that can reach a level of success. This statement is possible because the calculation is based on Amway’s own commission system (Schwarz & Schwarz, 2001). There it is regulated that, for example, a turnover of € 20,000 can lead to a commission of € 2,184 or € 2,984 – and for this turnover actually 177 “average members” are needed.

Table 2: Share of successful distributors calculated on basis of Schwarz & Schwarz (2001) (Groß, 2008: 193)

Diamond, p. 26

16,265 - 17,705 
Crown Ambas-sador, p. 32

107,719 - 109,159
1.69 m. (estimated)

Therefore, the data confirms what others have stated about Amway as an “income opportunity”: It exists only for very few people and the word “opportunity” may not only be a euphemism here but serves as a cover-up for a system that provides only very people with financial success – whereas most others are left behind with empty promises [3].
Amway GmbH (Ed.) 2004. Amway Geschäftsbedingungen und Null Toleranz-Richtlinie. Amway GmbH.
Butterfield, S. 1985. Amway. The Cult of Free Enterprise. Boston: South End Press.
Fitzpatrick, R. L. & Reynolds, J. K. 1997. False Profits. Seeking Financial and Spiritual Deliverance in Multi-Level-Marketing and Pyramid Schemes. Charlotte: Herald Press.
Rampelotto, L. & Schwarz, M. 1999. Das Schwarz-System. Schwarz Books.
Scheibeler, E. N. 2004. Merchants of Deception. An Insider's Look at the Worldwide, Systematic Conspiracy of Lies that is Amway/Quixtar and Their Motivational Organization. Available: www.merchantsofdeception.com (July 12, 2005): Eric N. Scheibeler.
Schwarz, M. & Schwarz, M. E. 2001. Mein Weg zum Kronenbotschafter. Langenmosen: Marianne und Max Schwarz GmbH & Co. Vertriebsförderungs KG.
Schwarz, M. & Schwarz, M. E. 2002. Der Erfolgsweg. Langenmosen: Marianne und Max Schwarz GmbH & Co. Vertriebsförderungs KG.

[2] Source: www.amivo.de/press_room01.html, accessed on 27th
November 2006.