NEW DELHI: Amid a soft employment outlook, direct-selling firms including leader Amway increased hiring sharply over two years, with jobs in the industry not requiring high educational qualifications or seed capital investments.
The total number of direct sellers employed by these firms rose to 5.7 million in 2018-19 from 5.1 million in 2016-17, equivalent to the addition of 800 people every day during this period, Indian Direct Selling Association treasurer Vivek Katoch said, quoting a report by the industry body.
“While 2.7 million women were associated with various direct selling companies in 2016-17, the number increased to 2.85 million in 2018-19. This translates to over 200 women joining the industry every day over the last two years,” Katoch said.
The percentage of women direct sellers at Amway India, the maker of Nutrilite supplements and Artistry cosmetics, went up to 65% in 2018-19 from 55% two years earlier, CEO Anshu Budhraja said.
“Participation of women in the workforce, especially in tier-2 and tier-3, is seeing incremental growth. Women, operating from within their homes, are supplementing family incomes, which is a very positive pattern,” Budhraja said. IDSA represents about two dozen companies including Amway, Oriflame, Tupperware and Modicare.
The Rs 1,900 crore company has started selling home air purifiers to leverage the potential of a nascent but rapidly growing segment. Budhraja said there has been higher volume growth in the health, nutrition and beauty segments, while sales in categories such as personal and homecare products have slowed. “We have seen a mixed bag in terms of consumption. Growth has tapered off in mature markets, but smaller tier-2 and 3 markets are continuing to grow,” he said.
IDSA estimated overall sales of direct selling companies at Rs 13,080 crore in 2018-19, an increase of 12% over the previous year. In 2017-18, sales in the industry were estimated at Rs 11,670 crore. The association said in the report that wellness products such as weight management supplements, energy bars and drinks contributed over half of sales, followed by cosmetics and personal care products.
According to a Reserve Bank of India Consumer Confidence Survey, 52.5% of the respondents said the employment situation in the country had worsened and 33.4% said it would get worse in the coming year. Over 26% said incomes had decreased.