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POST TIME: 14 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Smartphone sales thrive on app-based services
Tareque Moretaza, Dhaka

Smartphone sales thrive on app-based services

The sale of smartphones, priced between Tk. 12,000 and Tk. 20,000, increased by 21 per cent in the first nine months of this year, said industry insiders. This is due to app-based services.  However, the sale of smartphones with a price tag of less than Tk. 10,000 decreased by 30 per cent during the same period, they added.

The sale of smartphones that are relatively better and affordable has increased due to the expansion of app-based raid sharing services, e-commerce and online food order and delivery services, said Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers' Association (BMPIA) president Md Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub.

"After analysing, we found that the sale of smartphones priced less than Tk. 10,000 or less has decreased by 30 per cent. On the other hand, the sale of smartphones in the range of Tk. 12,000 to Tk. 20,000 increased by 21 per cent," he said.

If smartphone sales continue to rise, the country's mobile phone manufacturers will benefit, said the industry people.

Four companies --Samsung, Symphony, Walton and Techno -- have started production of mobile devices in the country.

Mohammed Mesbah Uddin, joint secretary of the BMPIA, said companies that have started production have been able to supply 10 lakh smartphones to the local market for the last three months (September to November).

It is good news that handset sales within a certain range have increased. But the overall smartphones business is going down, "added Mohammed Mesbah Uddin.

Technonology expert Suman Ahmed said raid sharing services and e-commerce service providers need a better smartphone as they need good battery backup, GPS features and easy to manage apps.

App-based services and e-commerce service are making a difference in the sale of smartphones and mobile operators to the Internet, he said.

Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA) president, Md Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub, also thinks so. According to him, the e-commerce sector will grow if it can provide Internet content in an easy way.

Md Abdul Wahed Tomal, secretary of the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB), said more than 14,000 entrepreneurs run their businesses through Facebook. The Facebook-based business is known as f-commerce.

Kamrul Islam, senior vice-president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI), said: “Bangladesh’s e-commerce sector grew by 70 per cent in 2017 and the market was worth about Tk. 1,000 crore at that time, growing from USD 65–70 million in 2016."

"The e-commerce market size is still a mere 0.7 per cent of the country’s total retail market. The contribution of e-commerce to our GDP is less than 1 per cent and there are around 1,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs in the country," he added.

 Furthermore, this market has witnessed around 20 per cent growth in a year. Currently, this sector employs 50,000 people. But it has a potential to provide employment opportunities to 1,00,000 people, said Kamrul Islam.

 Citing statistical data, the DCCI senior vice-president said that 80 per cent of online users use the Internet for online purchase and 50 per cent of them go online to purchase products more than once.

 According to the Goldman Sachs, Bangladesh’s e-commerce market will surge to USD 20 billion by 2020.