Despite the economic downturn, demand for healthcare products offered by direct-selling companies remain positive due to the growing health awareness, say industry players.
Hai-O Enterprise Bhd group office support manager Tan Keng Song says the company has not experienced any drop in sales so far, and in fact, the uptake of its healthcare products remains steady.
“Healthcare products are resilient in this state of economy as people are getting more health conscious and prefer natural herbal-based products,” she says.
She says the health supplements category under its direct-selling division achieved a growth of around 10% for the last financial year.
“We will embark on promotional campaigns, product training, road shows, billboard advertising and product sampling and will open more stockist outlets to obtain a wider market coverage,” Tan says.
The company has 13 branches, 30 stockists and four sales points across the country with a ready market of over 80,000 members.
Amway (M) Sdn Bhd general manager Paul Yee says the company has a strong base of customers for its food supplements and this would help to maintain its sales.
He says consumers seek quality food supplements that could meet their requirements; thus quality is key in determining purchase decisions.
“The environment is competitive and challenging but we believe that we have the necessary strategies in place to help us meet our objectives,” Yee says.
“We will stay on course with the existing broad strategies, which include supporting and training our distributor force to boost their retailing efforts.”
Amway (M) Sdn Bhd is a subsidiary of Amway (M) Holdings Bhd. The company has a core distributor force of 188,000 as at Dec 31, 2007.
Elken Sdn Bhd senior vice-president operations Chong Wei Cheong says consumers do realise the importance of keeping healthy with the rising medical costs.
“Malaysians can afford and are open to preventive health measures, so we look forward to seeing the trend continue upwards,” he says.
According to Chong, the company experienced double-digit sales growth last year despite the economic slowdown.
“Sales have been steady due to our quality products and strong network foundation,” he says.
Chong says the company will continue to develop and launch more quality products and embark on several branding strategies to increase brand awareness.
“We intend to continue expanding and enhancing our current infrastructure locally and overseas to support the business,” he adds.
The company’s network is supported by seven branches and close to 100 stockists in Malaysia.
CNI Holdings Bhd executive director Sam Cheong says the demand for its healthcare products and food supplements remains steady.
However, he says, the direct-selling industry will definitely face some difficulties and challenges during the economic downturn.
“People are becoming more cautious with their money and we foresee that the market for healthcare products and food supplements this year will be tough and extremely challenging,” he says.
He says the company will continue to strengthen its sales force by giving in-depth product knowledge, introducing new products, enhancing existing products and expanding the number of retail outlets.
“We remain positive on the prospect for the year and we will be able to ride out the economic downturn with our strong fundamentals,” he said.
CNI has an estimated 200,000 distributors throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
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