Ancestry has announced that it had to lay off six percent of its workforce, or around 100 workers, due to “a slowdown in consumer demand across the entire DNA category” over the past year and a half. The news comes just a few weeks after 23andMe, another home DNA testing service, revealed that it cut 100 workers because of dwindling sales.
Ancestry chief Margo Georgiadis touched upon one of the reasons for the company’s shrinking sales in her blog post: most early adopters have already entered the category. Another possible reason is that people are becoming more concerned about the privacy implications of taking DNA tests and then sharing their genetic information.
Authorities have started using DNA testing services to solve cold cases in recent years, and interest in the method grew even further after it led to the arrest of the Golden State Killer. It’s worth noting, though, that Ancestry tries to protect its customers’ privacy — it even fought a police DNA database search warrant last year and won.
Whatever the reason for the company’s sales decline is, Ancestry must now think of new ways to stay in business. As Georgiadis said in her post:
“Future growth will require a continued focus on building consumer trust and innovative new offerings that deliver even greater value to people. Ancestry is well positioned to lead that innovation to inspire additional discoveries in both Family History and Health.”