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E-shoppers beat traffic, heat

  • Published at 11:56 pm June 1st, 2019
Eid shopping-Bigstock
The number of daily orders online go up from 30,000 to 45,000 during Ramadan Bigstock

Tanjila Rahman Mounita bought most of the Eid gifts for her friends and family from online stores. E-stores and Facebook pages have brought relief to her life

Haggling over prices, traffic congestion, the insane summer heat, and overcrowded markets and shopping malls, are what have kept Mounita away from in-store Eid shopping this year. 

Tanjila Rahman Mounita bought most of the Eid gifts for her friends and family from online stores. E-stores and Facebook pages have brought relief to her life, she said. 

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Mounita who has just finished her higher secondary exams, said: “Sometimes we get deceived at some stores as they ask for unusually high prices for most of their products. And of course, the Dhaka traffic and heat are also there. Online shopping saves me time and energy too.” 

Anwesha Mamtaz, a lecturer at Bangladesh Open University who lives in Uttara, does not want to wait hours in traffic just to do her Eid shopping, when everything is just a click away. 

“Uttara is not exactly known for its shopping options, especially when it comes to dresses. Shopping in other parts of the city takes up the entire day mostly because of the unpredictable traffic,” said Anwesha. 

She continued: “Besides, getting stuck in traffic in the scorching heat only to buy one or two items is not really worth the hassle. Online shopping is more convenient, especially for full timers like us.”

Md Abdul Wahed Tomal, general secretary of e-CAB (e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh) told Dhaka Tribune that about a 25% increase in online shopping has been seen this year compared to last year. 

Last year, the size of the e-commerce market was around one thousand crore Taka, he said. 

The number of daily orders online is 30,000. During Ramadan it goes up to around 45,000 each day. 

Last year, the number of daily orders during Ramadan was around 30,000 and on a normal day it was 20,000.

Currently, there are two thousand e-commerce websites and around 50 thousand Facebook business pages are operated in Bangladesh, he said.

"The e-commerce boom in Bangladesh will help decentralize the market from Dhaka," he suggested.

AKM Fahim Mashroor, CEO of e-commerce site AjkerDeal, said most orders they get are from outside Dhaka. "Buyers mostly order clothes and other fashion accessories from our site during Ramadan," he said.

Imam Hossan, manager of Facebook business page Nandini, said that although online businesses are thriving in the country, competition is high as many people are getting into e-business.

Low turnout in shopping centers 

Visiting a number of shopping malls in Dhaka's Dhanmondi area on Saturday, this correspondent found a very low turnout of shoppers compared to past years. 

Irin Akter, one of the many female entrepreneurs of Joyeeta in Rapa Plaza, said they used to sell products worth 10 thousand every day on average in the last few days of Ramadan, but this year it has come down to three thousand a day only.

“Two or three years ago this store used to be overcrowded during Eid. And today we are struggling to sell the first product of the day,” said Irin. 

Another frustrated entrepreneur of Joyeeta, Fatema Begum, 54, said they will have to shut down their business if this continues.

She said most customers do not want to visit physical stores anymore as online shopping is booming.

According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, around 94 million internet subscribers are there in Bangladesh. Of them close to 88 million are mobile internet users as of April 2019.