What is neni economy and how it boosts digital commerce in Mexico

Since the health emergency, which caused higher unemployment, the so-called "neni economy" became relevant for self-employment and income through the sale of products or services.

What is neni economy and how it boosts digital commerce in Mexico
Photo by Blake Wisz / Unsplash

The neni economy has long been rooted in Mexican culture, especially now that there are companies with a large inventory of products available for salespeople, mostly women, to engage in retail sales. This type of activity is known as 'neni economy', because it is very common for customers and saleswomen to talk to each other in a more affectionate and close manner, using the word 'nena' or 'neni' when addressing each other.

A study showed that this creates employment for three people, starting with a company that sells a certain product to an entrepreneur, who in turn offers it to someone else through catalogs or physically, that is how it works. It is a type of informal commerce because it is not strictly controlled, but it is different from street commerce.

This type of economy yields sales per day for approximately nine million 500 thousand pesos; it is self-employment to which they dedicate practically 24 hours a day, seven days a week, especially because the main way to offer merchandise in these times of pandemic is through digital platforms, which took the demonstration of merchandise to another level.

About 13 million households have an income thanks to this economic activity. Some people are already professionalized and have been operating for some time, but others have joined because they no longer had an income and necessity drove them to it; sometimes they do not have a fixed point of sale, so sometimes we see women on public transport carrying large bundles of shoes, clothes or toys that are intended for their customers.

On March 23 and 30, 2020, the essential activities during the sanitary emergency were published in the Official Gazette of the Federation, which resulted in the closure of 75 percent of businesses and this affected the pockets of a significant number of those involved in the "neni economy". Therefore, some people had to look for other ways to get the merchandise at a good price.

Some of the entrepreneurs offer products or services of their elaboration and make themselves known through the different media. A significant number of these people protect their intellectual property and copyrights.