While door-to-door selling is a common phenomenon is many localities, the numbers have increased indicating a rise in its potential, especially for women in India. Direct Selling provides accessible business opportunities to people looking for alternative sources of income, and whose entry is generally not restricted by gender, age, education, or previous experience.
According to Annual Survey Report, women contribute almost 58.3 per cent in 2013-14. “Women form a significant chunk of direct sellers, and from a current 2,551,189 women, their numbers is expected to grow at eight per cent making a whopping 55,07,820 self-employed women by 2025,” informs Chavi Hemanth, secretary general, Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA).
The IDSA which is an autonomous, self-regulatory body recognises the marketing approach as micro-entrepreneurship that can inspire many small home-based initiatives. Hemanth tells Metrolife, “Initially FMCG or everyday use products were more popular but segments like wellness, cosmetics and personal care dominate the Indian direct selling market which has accelerated women self-employment and empowerment. This year, the industry focus is to further bolster and showcase the entrepreneur opportunity for women.”
Hemanth adds that it is interesting to note that women percentage of full-time self-employed of direct sellers stands at 64 per cent and part-timers of direct sellers stands at 36 per cent. Being in the Indian set-up, “Direct selling gives educated and semi-educated women the flexibility to manage their professional and personal lives.”
Dr S P Sharma, chief economist-director research, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry says, “Women have significantly contributed in the economic empowerment of nation over the years. The concept of gender equality has gained momentum in light of globalisation and liberalisation and there has been a phenomenal change in the status of women over the years across the globe. Women who used to undertake only household responsibilities earlier are now effectively participating in almost all sectors of the economy. These self-employment opportunities will encourage more women.”
Hemanth tells Metrolife, “It is always not about money. But how confident you are as a woman. Once they start going out, they get motivated.”