ReInventing, ReDefining and ReImagining Direct Selling in the New Norms


Demystifying the local direct selling industry by Datuk Tan Chong Guan, President of DSAM




The Direct Selling industry remains resilient and strong for those that reacted quickly enough. The new normal has made many realise that we have to change, improvise and adapt quickly to survive. This is the time for the industry players to ReInvent, ReDefine and ReImagine in order to exploit and excel in these times while providing proven sustainable and achievable financial entrepreneurial options for millions globally.


In 2019, the Direct Selling Association of Malaysia (DSAM) was ranked 7th globally in Sales and 4th in Asia Pacific by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA). This is a monumental achievement considering the sales per population ratio in relation to other nations globally. The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs has announced that the Direct Selling industry is on track, despite the current pandemic, to hit RM20b in revenue for 2020. This represents an increase of RM2.1b from last year’s RM17.9b.


Direct Selling has been in existence in Malaysia since the early 1900s. For 120 years, the industry has shown resilience and growth, bringing unique products and producing many successful entrepreneurs. This industry prides itself in providing the ease of entry to business with very little capital outlay. One of its biggest contributions is providing regular training to the distributors on having a positive mindset and attitude in combination with using the latest sales tools to help the distributors achieve better results, the latest being the use of online tools. However, the unique essence of Direct Selling is still the personal touch and the relationship building with the consumers.


With the onset of the pandemic and implementation of the Movement Control Order, many distributors had to improvise and increase their knowledge of online tools to continue to keep in touch with their customers and network of business builders. The industry ReInvented itself. The Direct Selling companies quickly moved their activities and events online and managed to continue to support the distributors.


The positive impact of the pandemic to the industry is that many people realised the importance of good health. Health supplements, which is 60% of the sales of the Direct Selling industry, became a staple food supplement in addition to the regular meals and exercise. The lockdown has led many people to also realise the importance of the need to have an additional stream of income and Direct Selling has become the best way forward for many. As the heart of Direct Selling has always been on relationship building, the industry had to ReDefine its core values to remain relevant with the global winds of change. With digitalisation comes a rapidly reducing need for a person-to-person sales relationship. We have to embrace the technology to use it as an effective and efficient tool of communication to reach out to the consumers. Where in the past one can only visit a limited number of customers in a day, now one can reach out to hundreds of people in their network using online social media tools. Positively touching the lives of many more people daily with their personal messages of encouragement, concern and care.


Direct Selling distributors who are able to play their role in the new norm continue to break new grounds and prosper. With better awareness of the need for an additional income stream, the industry has created a ReImagining of what working from home means with a Direct Selling business. The industry becomes a beacon of hope for many as a platform and option to many who are financially affected by this pandemic. It is time to ReImagine Direct Selling as an option for many.


Direct Sellers play an important role to sustain many households with a business income as our country slowly but surely regains its footing economically. All Direct Selling distributors must stand up to do our national service to help as many people as possible regain their footing while we fight the pandemic. There is no doubt that together, we can all come out of this with better understanding of Direct Selling and its role in nation building.


DSAM believes that Direct Selling has evolved to become a fun and exciting business, where likeminded people can come together to share knowledge and help each other move up in business. With the simple philosophy that hard work yields the best results, a fulfilling social life and a healthy career growth are some of the great benefits that those who want more from life can get. For more information on DSAM and our member companies, please visit www.dsam.org.my for more information.





About Direct Selling Association Malaysia


DSAM was established in 1978 as a national trade association aimed at promoting the Direct Selling industry on a national and international level, as well as act as the de facto voice of the industry. As the country’s bearer of ethical Direct Selling, our mission is to support Direct Selling companies in the areas of governance, consumer protection, ethics, education, and communications.


In 2012, DSAM initiated the ASEAN Direct Selling Associations Working Committee and is currently the permanent Secretariat. DSAM is also affiliated to the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations

(WFDSA) and is the world’s body Association Advisory Council for the Asia Pacific Region. DSAM has been conferred the Platinum status by WFDSA for the excellence in association management.


DSAM currently has 126 Member companies and in 2019, our Members generated almost RM9 billion in sales. DSAM Members are made up of approximately 50% local and multi-national Direct Selling companies. For more information, visit www.dsam.org.my