Online shopping has started gaining momentum ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festivals of Muslims, amid the restriction on movements to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The coronavirus outbreak has brought more attention to the e-commerce platforms as people are choosing online shopping to be able to get products delivered to their homes during this ‘lockdown’ period.
There are some 93 million internet users, including 87 million mobile internet subscribers, in the country till March 2019, according to statistics provided by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
The e-commerce insiders also said the average number of e-shopping deliveries is around 30,000 every day in regular times but it has reached 40,000-45,000 ahead of Eid-ul Fitr.
The number of e-shopping delivery orders was below 20,000 a day two years ago, but now the volume has soared to around 30,000. The yearly turnover of the country’s e-shopping is around Tk 8-10 billion.
People earlier used e-shopping to save time as well as avoid traffic chaos and other hazards in the busy city life but now they are forced to choose the online platforms for Eid shopping due to coronavirus.
The pressure to buy daily essentials through online begun after first coronavirus case was identified in Bangladesh on March 8. But the pressure increased in many folds after the government announced general holidays on March 26 to combat the spread of coronavirus.
Online shopping started gaining pace, particularly after Shab-e Barat ahead of Eid as the people are not going to the shopping malls and markets due to fear of coronavirus infection.
Tania Aktar, a service-holder living in Rampura area, said she buy products online due to fear of coronavirus. “We used to purchases from shopping malls during every Eid but this year we choose online shops due to coronavirus,” she added.
According to the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), they have some 1,200 members who are running online shops. Many others run online shops through different social media platforms.
Apart from this, many shops owners are also now selling through online platforms amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials of different brands said the volume of online orders increased in many times this year due to coronavirus outbreak. Hadi SA Chowdhury, Head of Retail, YELLOW, said: “The volume of online orders increased by at least six-folds.”
‘YELLOW’ is providing home delivery for some products and rest through courier services, he added.
Another clothing brand Aarong’s Chief Operating Officer Mohammad Ashraful Alam said: “We had got 150 orders a day during last year’s Eid shopping season but it now reached up to 1500 due to coronavirus.”
The online shopowners, however, said they are witnesses extra pressure due to huge numbers of orders as they have a limited number of staffs to carry out the home delivery of products.
Only a few numbers of shops are providing delivery within 24 to 72 hours. The courier services are also witnessing a rush for an increasing number of home delivery orders.
Market insiders said in the last few years, online shopping and business gained much popularity thanks to the rise in social media users like Facebook.
The growth of e-shopping increasing quickly as the number of social media users, particularly mobile Facebook, has also sharply increased in both urban and rural areas.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Abdul Wahed Tomal, General Secretary of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), said e-shopping has been witnessing an upward trend in the country and the sales through online increased due to coronavirus.”
He said “Sales through online is good but there is no festive mood of Eid shopping this year as the previous time due to coronavirus and the overall Eid sales are also lower compared to last year.