Kenya has been ranked as the market leader in the direct selling industry in the region, latest data from QNET confirms.
According to the data, Kenya surpassed Tanzania to lead the East African nations, owing to an increase in smartphone use in the country that has the highest internet connectivity in the region.
QNET is a Hong Kong-based multi-level marketing company owned by the QI Group.
Direct selling is a sales channel used by companies to promote their products away from a physical retail location, directly to the end consumer primarily relying on word-of-mouth promotion from existing users.
In some ways, direct selling is an evolution of traveling salesmen from the early 1900s. The direct selling business was the original gig economy business before tech companies made this form of flexible employment opportunities popular in recent years.
Many businesses around the world use the direct selling business model to promote unique products and services in categories such as wellness and nutrition, personal and beauty care and home care products among others.
For many people, direct selling offers them a great platform to become micro-entrepreneurs and build a sales business promoting such products when they sign up as distributors of direct selling companies.
QNET Chief Executive Malou Caluza says despite the Covid-19 pandemic the East African region continued to post improvement in direct selling.
“We saw record-breaking growth of up to 65 per cent in some African markets led by Kenya, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Comoros and Ghana. Locals are adopting digital technologies exponentially, boosting productivity and employment opportunities as e-commerce opens up new prospects for businesses,” she explained.
According to the data, the road to strengthening East Africa’s economy will lie in remote work and gig opportunities.
“How well digitisation is integrated into the current economy, allowing businesses to leverage their digital commerce infrastructure and local know-how to provide new gainful income opportunities, will be key to this process,” said Caluza.
Data from the 2020 World Federation of Direct Selling Association report saw a 17.3 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of individuals involved in this industry in Africa, bringing the total to 6.3 million distributors.
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