As Eid-ul-Fitr, the most celebrated religious festival of the country approaches, throngs of shoppers have spiked up both online and offline shopping zones.
People of all ages are cramming the markets till midnight in many cases to finish their shopping for Eid. Those who want to avoid the hassle of visiting the bricks-and-mortar outlets are probably finding out for the first time this year that they are heading online with the help of e-commerce.Visiting different areas of the capital, including New Market, Elephant Road, Gulistan, Polwell supermarket, Mouchak, Moghbazar, and Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, UNB correspondents found that overall most vendors are satisfied with their pace of sales.
The capital’s New Market is a long-standing go-to for middle- and small-income families for Eid shopping. Along with it, nearby Gausia and Chandni Chawk shopping centers were seen brimming with shoppers on a recent evening.
One of the proprietors at Chandni Chawk, Abdul Halim told UNB that there have seen immense growth in sales over the past week.
“As we have brought new supplies, we’ve been selling in large numbers. All types of clothing for men and women are selling like hotcakes,” he said.
Another shopkeeper, Shamim Hossain, expressed his hope that the momentum behind sales will continue till the Eid day.
Eid is, of course, synonymous with new clothes, and that is reflected in the most popular items being sold, mainly Punjabis for men, but also shirts and trousers, while women are purchasing three-pieces, saree and Indian-Pakistani dresses of various types alongside shoes, cosmetics, and household items.Inside Gausia Market, a shopkeeper named Harun told UNB that selling at a cheaper rate than other markets in the capital is the reason why customers keep coming throughout the month of Ramadan.
Hawkers on the streets have also garnered handsome incomes for themselves by selling their products of questionable quality, although their prices also reflect that, meaning there is a place for them too.
One such hawker, Ataur Rahman, said they do not need to pay any extra amount for shop rent and other costs hence they can sell clothes and other products at an even cheaper price.
The sheer range of items available in the capital even draws customers from outside Dhaka. Afsana Azad from Narayanganj said at times of Eid, products can be bought at a cheaper rate from New Market area.
“There are many tempting dresses and cosmetics here at an affordable price. Also, the scope of bargaining brings that price even lower,” she said. However, she criticised the unhealthy environment and lack of public safety in the markets, with pickpockets on the prowl, she said.
Similar to other hotspots for Eid shopping, clothing, shoes, cosmetics are the main selling products in the city’s premium shopping mall, Bashundhara Shopping Complex, alongside smartphones and other accessories, said the vendors.
Different fashion houses and brand outlets have brought clothing of new design and at different price-brackets to fit the buyers need. Every store is trying to draw customers by offering handsome deals and discounts.
Salman Ahmed, a salesperson of Plus Point clothing store told UNB the sales have been much better for the past 3-4 days.
“The market sees customers in large numbers after midday until the closure. We are expecting another boost in sales after 25th Ramadan,” he said.
Another salesperson of Ecstasy, Adnan Alam, said the brand is offering a guaranteed 20 percent discount upon payment via bKash.
Fashion Brands Richman and Infinity are offering a 10 percent discount through online purchase of clothes such as shirts, Punjabis, trousers and various dresses for ladies.
Wahid Ahmed, a private university student, said he bought a pair of shoes for about taka 2400 because product quality and family’s happiness is his main concern.
However, he alleged that the asking prices in the shops are set irrationally high compared to other months.
Md Shaheedul Hasan Shaheed, a proprietor of Golden Gallery at Polwel Super Market, said that they have been supplying their imported products across the country since Shab-e-Barat adding that they have started retail sales also.
Another Md Obaidur Rahman, proprietor of S-T-S Enterprise claimed that business is not good following increasing import cost in various ways.
“Although the number of importers has increased here, they do not get customers as their expectation,” he said.
Hasnat Al Mehedi, one of the customers of the market said as per tradition he buys Punjabi every year for Eid day. This year he bought an embroidered Punjabi at Tk 1700.
Polwel Super Market Shop Owner’s Association President A Kayum Talukder Moni said increased tax rate has reportedly cost them more for importing products.
“We sell genuine imported products here and pay tax regularly. We need to pay around Tk 400 for a pair of pants and Tk 350 for a T-shirt. Besides, there is some import complexity including port delivery altogether forcing the customers to buy brand products at a higher price than expected,” he said.
He said this increase in price tends to drive the customers away.
“Our wholesale business has begun from Shab-e-Barat. Now retail products will be sold until Eid,” he added.
Khadija Rahman, chief designer of Taaga Man, a subsidiary of Aarong, said they have brought new collections this year namely children clothing and Punjabi for men.
“We make products targeting middle-income customers,” she added.
Khadija further said they are getting a good response from customers being a local brand.
“Punjabis at the range of Tk 2000 -Tk 5000 are the most popular to customers,” she added.
This year, online shopping has started gaining serious momentum ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr amid its growing popularity with the boom in internet penetration across the country.
According to Abdul Wahid Tomal, General Secretary of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), e-shopping marked a 30 percent growth this year as the number of social media users, particularly Facebook, has also sharply increased in both urban and rural areas.
An increasing number of people, mostly city dwellers, are choosing e-shopping to save time as well as avoid traffic chaos and other hazards of Eid Shopping.