Thailand's direct sales business is likely to remain flat this year, attributed to the pandemic.
Kittawat Ritteerawee, president of Thailand Direct Selling Association (TDSA) and managing director of Amway Thailand, said the overall direct sales industry is expected to stay at 70 billion baht, the same tally as 2019 when the industry grew by 2-3% from 2018.
"With the pandemic, we expect the direct sales business is likely to see flat growth during 2020 and 2021," he said.
Mr Kittawat said he believes the industry has passed its lowest point.
"Direct sales offer a good opportunity as a sideline job during the pandemic," he said.
Amway, the leading direct sales company, expects sales to grow 3% this year to 20.8 billion baht. Of the total, 65% will come from health products, 9% from beauty, 14% from durable products such as water treatment and the rest from other products.
Last year the company reported sales of 20.2 billion baht, 6% growth from 2018.
"We've overcome all crises to continue growing for 33 years, whether it was the Asian financial crisis or the Gulf War in 1991," said Mr Kittawat. "This is because the company is always prepared and adapts to the changing situation."
He said Amway refined its marketing strategies for Covid, both offline and online, to maintain its product access for consumers, ramping up its digital platform to drive sales.
Online sales have increased to 30% so far, up from 15% before the crisis.
"Amway has enjoyed continuous sales growth throughout three quarters of 2020 because our business highlights health products which fit the current consumer trend which recognises good health," Mr Kittawat said.
He said health products now contribute up to 65% of the company's total sales, compared with 33% in recent years.
The figure is in accordance with a survey by Mintel, a globally recognised marketing research company, which revealed that 82% of Thai consumers list health as their top priority.
Most of them, particularly millennials, purchase various nutritional supplements to stimulate their immune system and to boost their physical appearance.