According to the Thai Direct Selling Association (TDSA), 2018 will see a slight increase in direct sales over 2017. The TDSA forecasts the direct sales business to expand by 5 percent this year from last year’s figure. 2017 saw 95 billion baht (US$3.05 billion), an increase of 2 percent from the previous year.
The positive growth projection comes in line with the trend of economic recovery and the increasing purchasing power from an aging society and health-conscious consumers. Health products were projected to contribute around 45 percent of total direct sales. Women were now taking the direct selling model as a serious career, not just to earn extra income, the association said.
“Last year Thai direct sales business showed growth of 1.4 per cent compared to 2016,” said Suchada Theeravachirakul, TDSA’s president. “For this year, we expect the growth of 5 percent due to several factors, including the economic recovery and the strategy for building digital platforms to fully engage consumers, including the website, Facebook, Instagram and mobile applications etc. Around 52 percent of e-commerce consumers have bought products via smartphones.”
Thailand’s population is aging, and by 2022 there is projected to be 13 million people over 60 years old, making up 20 percent of the population. The aging population will spend more on health products, boosting that sector, the association predicts.
In addition to the older population, the direct sales business also attracts Generation Y—those born in the 1980s and 1990s—who will play a part in driving the sector’s growth. Generation Yers often prefer entrepreneurship over being salaried employees and regularly see direct sales as a suitable career. Members of Generation Y represent 15 percent of total direct sellers.