Tupperware Stays on Top

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Earlier this year, the New York Times highlighted the rise of Tupperware in Indonesia. Women in Jakarta had started gathering in groups for Tupperware parties, and Indonesia has surpassed Germany in recent years as Tupperware’s top market:

Indonesia is, in many ways, in Tupperware’s sweet spot.

As the economy has taken off in recent years, an expanding middle class now has more disposable income for containers of all shapes and sizes that are sturdier than those found in local markets. And, as in 1960s America, many women stay at home to keep house and raise their children, creating a captive audience for parties run by saleswomen who have begun to sidle past conservative social mores and into the work force.

“There are tens of millions of Indonesian women currently not in the work force who are potential targets to not only buy Tupperware, but also sell it,” said Emma Allen, an economist in Jakarta.

The U.S.-based company has said that it plans to focus heavily on emerging economies with rising middle classes.

Chief Executive Rick Goings told the Wall Street Journal that he estimates 80 percent of Tupperware’s revenue will come from those markets in 2019. In the recent emerging markets slowdown, it seems that Tupperware is plowing along. FT reported that despite the recent shakeups, Tupperware is not slowing down in those regions:

[A]ccording to a snapshot of trading from Tupperware Brands, a US-listed company whose shares are one of the best performing on the S&P 500 on Wednesday. The company, which also sells a range of beauty and skincare products, cheered investors by disclosing sales in the third quarter are at the top end of its expectations.

Now if only we as a civilization could finally figure out how to not lose Tupperware lids