One of the world’s billion-dollar direct selling markets is off to a good start in 2017. Thailand, which ranked No. 13 in August 2016 DSN coverage of global retail sales, reported revenue growth of 2–3 percent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period for 2016.
Thai Direct Selling Association (TDSA) President Suchada Theeravachirakul attributed the growth to a “business model that allows young people to be successful entrepreneurs, a wide range of products and process, and digital technology.”
After reaching an all-time high in 2013 with $3.08 billion, direct sales in Thailand had fallen back below the $3 billion threshold in the following two years. Sales were $2.8 billion in 2014 and $2.7 billion in 2015. According to Euromonitor International, an independent provider of strategic market research, the key to sustained growth in this market is a focus on technological innovation, especially regarding social media.
In its January 2017 report on direct selling in Thailand, Euromonitor International noted that innovation is a crucial factor for growth, and that it must “match consumers’ lifestyles and changing behavior, as people can easily find out information and news trends via websites and social media.” Social media, in particular, is powerful in the country, and direct selling companies should be leveraging all that social media has to offer in the form of promotions, advertising and communication to succeed. Although the TDSA projects the direct sales business to grow by 5–8 percent in 2017, experts see continued challenges in this market.
Direct selling companies in Thailand include world No. 1 direct seller Amway, which, according to Euromonitor International, accounts for the largest proportion of direct sales in the country; and Better Way, which launched its Mistine brand in 1991 and is one of the leaders in the direct selling cosmetics market.