This is an update to my recent post – Our Path Forward – Ancestry.com February 5, 2020. I didn’t see these numbers until yesterday, but looks like Ancestry.com has laid off 6% of its workforce – Update on Ancestry.com Lay-offs – Business Insider February 5, 2020: https://www.businessinsider.com/genealogy-giant-ancestry-lays-off-employees-2020-2.
The DNA-testing fad is ending, and it’s hitting one of the biggest players in the space hard.
On Wednesday, Ancestry CEO Margo Georgiadis wrote in a blog post that the company is laying off 6% of its 1,700-person workforce, or roughly 100 employees. In the post, Georgiadis cited the slowdown in the consumer genetics market as the reason, noting that the market is at an “inflection point,” and most early adopters have already taken one of the tests.
The layoffs come just weeks after rival 23andMe also laid off 100 employees, representing about 14% of its staff.
I wouldn’t call it a fad as those tend to fade quickly. Back in Summer 2011 when I first considered doing one DNA test, I spent a year researching the various companies offering DNA testing. During that time, AncestryDNA joined the autosomal DNA testing field and offered a test for $99. Its main competitors were 23andMe and FamilyTree DNA (FTDNA). Back in 2011, those companies were offering autosomal DNA testing for $199. Shortly after AncestryDNA entered the market, all three (3) of the companies lowered their prices to $99. Subsequently, MyHeritageDNA, LivingDNA – including FindMyPastDNA, and other companies joined the bandwagon. In the intervening years, FTDNA, MyHeritageDNA, and LivingDNA offered free limited transfers. Plus, FTDNA and MyHeritageDNA lowered their kits to $79 while AncestryDNA and 23andMe kept their kits at $99.
I saw another article – https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/25/dna-tests-from-companies-like-23andme-ancestry-see-sales-slowdown.html that made the following point:
“While early adopter wave is petering out, we are seeing the real market (the equivalent of a PC in every home and a phone in every pocket), which is population-level use of genetics, taking hold.”
At this point, I don’t consider Summer 2011 – early 2020 anywhere near the early adopter stage. Early adopter stage tends to be at the beginning and lasts less time than a fad most of the time. I think it’s more about privacy issues, concerns about where the economy may be heading, and other things than being a fad ending or early adopter stage ending.
Previous DNA Saturdays posts: https://upsdownsfamilyhistory.wordpress.com/tag/DNA-Saturdays/