By Samir Modi
The year 2021 has been a mixed bag with opportunities and challenges for businesses across the country. While the majority of the first half saw organisations grappling with the effects of the second wave of Covid infections, the mass vaccination drive has brought forth the much needed surge of positivity during the second half. The direct selling industry has continued to do well and hold its own despite various challenges. The industry has displayed tremendous agility and ingenuity to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever before. Backed by positive consumer sentiment and growing awareness, this Rs 16,000 crore industry is all set for massive growth and is expected to reach Rs 64,500 crore by 2025 (FICCI-KPMG Report). The next year will be crucial in charting out a growth trajectory for the industry. Here are some key trends that we can look out for in 2022:
Direct selling as a stable source of income
As job cuts and losses continued to plague the economy, direct Selling emerged as a stable source of income for millions across the country. According to a recent report by Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), the industry welcomed 53,18,664 new entrants during April-September 2020 period. The work from home scenario also paved the way for people to explore more avenues for additional sources of income, and this further saw people turning to direct selling for self-sustenance during testing times. With flexible work hours, zero seed capital, and no minimum qualification, direct selling allows people to grow and realise their true potential while also managing responsibilities of their full time job. This trend is bound to continue in 2022 as well and we can expect the consultant base to grow significantly during the next year.
Tier 2-3 cities will continue to be the driver of sales
The ongoing pandemic has brought in a paradigm shift in consumer purchase patterns. With travel being restricted due to prolonged lockdowns, people in tier-II -and tier-III cities started looking for trustworthy brands in their own vicinity. There is an increasing brand consciousness and awareness among people living in smaller towns. This is where the direct selling industry with its massive network of direct sellers and its bouquet of quality offerings stands to gain significantly. In fact, we have also observed the bulk of sales coming in from smaller towns and cities and realigned our focus accordingly. Demand from tier 2 and tier 3 cities will continue to shape the future of direct selling industry.
Enhanced focus on digital adoption
The ‘New Normal’ has certainly reinforced the importance of digital integration and building future-ready organisations. Even as the offices open up fully by early next year, most organisations in the direct-selling space will still be operating on a hybrid work model. Hence, it is absolutely imperative for management and employees alike to be in tune with the latest technology. Players in the industry will continue to focus on faster digital adoption of their processes and overall approach for convenience and a greater receptivity among consumers and consultants alike.
Technology and innovation led products will rule the roost
The consumers today have become a lot more conscious about what they are putting inside their body and how that might impact their overall health. When it comes to quality, they are not willing to settle for anything less than the absolute best. In tandem with this, organisations have had to up their game and focus on leveraging technology and innovation to roll out relevant offerings for customers. Technology-driven offerings, especially in the wellness and personal care space, have been witnessing great traction among the consumers.
Wellness will continue to witness increased traction riding on health consciousness
Health is Wealth- the old adage that we grew up with has found more relevance today than ever before. The pandemic has reinforced the value of life and loved ones, and compelled everyone to consciously work towards building their immunity. This has led to a significant rise in demand for immunity boosters and supplements. As per a recent IDSA report, approximately 55% of the total gross turnover in the direct selling industry comes from the Wellness category. With health and immunity assuming even greater importance, wellness category will continue to witness increased traction in the coming year.
Enhanced focus on social media and influencer led marketing
While the direct selling space has been gradually adapting to social media and influencer-led marketing, the coming year will see a major shift in the direction. Social media has become indispensable today to every organisation’s strategy for growth. The players in the direct selling industry will also start banking more on social media marketing for enhanced awareness and recall among the target audience.
The author is the founder and managing director of Modicare Ltd
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