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6 October, 2020 07:39:49 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 6 October, 2020 08:32:53 PM
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Bangladesh’s potential e-commerce industry

The pandemic of Covid-19 has locked the whole world indoors, but that doesn't mean that demand has gone out of the market. The situation has been adopted by consumers and online shoppers and online sales are known to have risen by 70 to 80% compared to the general time
Tanvir Islam
Bangladesh’s potential e-commerce industry

The key development factor in this new economy is knowledge and details. Innovation and technological change thus make a significant contribution to sustainable economic development. In this information age, electronic commerce is essential to businesses, ensuring access to new markets, growing business growth rates, growing versatility of trade policies, reducing sales and advertisement costs. In the 2013-2014 timeframe, the e-commerce world in Bangladesh began. Over the years, banking, logistics communications, and payment methods have increasingly improved and opportunities have been created by the e-business market. Even though e-commerce is still at a very early stage in Bangladesh, the industry seems to be very emerging in the next few days, with more than 165 million inhabitants and 96 million internet subscribers.

Some factors have driven the growth of the e-commerce industry in the last 4-5 years. Mobile internet adoption and successful mobile internet use have been noteworthy. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) announced that in 2017 there were 80.6 million internet users, and 91.3 million internet users in 2018. There have been 96 million internet users according to the data of June 2019. Besides, the e-commerce sector has been widened considerably by putting smartphones into the buying power of the lower middle class. Bangladesh's young and vibrant population is rapidly popularizing e-commerce websites. Roughly 45% people are potential users of e-commerce. The pandemic of Covid-19 has locked the whole world indoors, but that doesn't mean that demand has gone out of the market. The situation has been adopted by consumers and online shoppers and online sales are known to have risen by 70 to 80% compared to the general time.

In terms of e-commerce revenues, Bangladesh is ranked 46th in the global ranking, according to a study by the German online portal Statista. Statista’s latest figures demonstrate that the Bangladesh e-commerce industry stood at $1,649 million in 2019, rising to $2,077 million this year and will touch to $3,077 million in 2023. Statista also reports that Bangladesh's online fashion market today stands at $598 million and is likely to cross up to $1.24 billion by 2023. Currently, online sales of electronic goods is 457 million US$ and furniture and appliances of about 196 million US$. Furniture and appliances sales would go up to $352 million after four years. Online sales of hobby products and toys are at $260 million and by 2023 they could be almost twice as much as $442 million. (Source: Statista.com)

Every day in the country, 80,000 families receive services from various e-commerce sites. The General Secretary of the Bangladesh E-Commerce Association (e-Cab), Mohammad Abdul Wahed Tamal, said during the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce revolutionized. In comparison with the previous period, the growth of online sales increased by 70 to 80%. Tamal also added that every year the sector nearly doubles. A recent report sourced from Bangladesh Bank shows that there is an upward trend in the transaction amount of the e-commerce sector of Bangladesh every month. In June 2020 the transaction amount was 491.4 Core Tk which increased to 640.4 Core Tk in July 2020. (Source: Bangladesh Bank)

The economic variables and growth rates are affected by e-commerce. E-commerce transactions increase the growth of GDP and, thus, help Bangladesh to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It leads to higher incomes, higher living standards for individuals, marketing expansion, increased sales, and exports, thus rising production and growth rates. Bangladesh's e-commerce industry generates tremendous growth in opportunities for jobs. At present, this sector comprises over 40,000 individuals and more than 30,000 SMEs (small and medium enterprises). Along with hundreds of entrepreneurial organizations, around four lakh female entrepreneurs also sell goods on different online platforms. Five lakhs will be working for Bangladesh e-commerce in the next five years, according to official statements from the government. "Services are diligently offered by e-commerce firms. Hopefully, e-commerce, the marketplace, together with logistics services has created a strong potential for youth," said Minister of Commerce Tipu Munshi. 
With the rise of e-commerce, the startup ecosystem has seen positive growth. SMEs from home can also sell to global audiences on popular markets. The rise in exports is leading. Due to the large population in Bangladesh, it is not surprising that the bigwigs in e-commerce are striving best to attract Bangladeshi customers and prepare their strategies to meet the special needs of the Bangladeshi public. It has now been learned that Daraz is one of Bangladesh's biggest e-commerce company, which is a 100 percent foreign investment organization. Following them, other Bangladeshi companies are doing well, including Evaly, Ajkerdeal, Rokmari, Pikaboo, Othoba, and Chaldal. Amazon, the largest e-commerce company in the world, is showing interest in Bangladesh.
While the e-commerce industry has expanded over the years, many challenges remain. The growth challenges facing the country's e-commerce sector include the lack of proper system support policies at the national level, clear roadmaps for developing e-commerce, financial transaction security, the sluggish and costly internet, distribution networks, quality product assurance, and a lack of expert human capital. Because of the lack of infrastructure and the inability to enter remote areas, e-commerce companies cannot reach all parts of the country. The absence of a trustworthy e-commerce climate, lack of public exactness, and fear of online shopping are further challenges.

Electronic commerce is an evolving industry in Bangladesh. The sector is rising and becoming more competitive. Protection should be provided to local e-commerce companies on the market. Foreign investment in this sector is simultaneously expected. The method of payment provided by e-commerce sites must be made safer. High-speed, low-cost internet in rural areas has to be ensured. The electronic commerce industry should focus more on the logistics of supply and customer service. To avoid consumers being deceived and provided poor quality goods, urgent steps must be taken to ensure the rights of consumers. Despite the challenges, the industry has a great deal of potential, and, in the coming years, e-commerce will play an important role in the country's GDP. As a part of the Digital Bangladesh initiative, the government should support and fund this sector more.

The writer is a student of Noakhali Science and Technology University.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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