Even though a rising number of COVID-19 cases is leading more people to opt for online shopping, the pandemic and subsequent global economic stagnation have diminished the purchase power of most people, particularly the middle and lower-middle classes.
Coronavirus also disrupted the global supply chain and led to the temporary shutting down of all non-essential services in Bangladesh, including small fashion shops many of which sold a big portion of their products online.
Sales of shops selling imported items have almost dried up and as their stocks finish, they have no choice but to close down and wait for the global supply chain to be restored.
Sale is much lower than expectation this time, said industry insiders.
“People are not in festive mood. Their purchasing power has been diminished. Online sales are much lower compared to the previous Eid,” said Abdul Wahed Tomal, General Secretary of e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).
Noting that online buyers are mostly from the middle class, he said there is low demand for luxury goods.
Tomal said the pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to the country’s online shops. Most of the small online shops remain close due to shortage of products and delivery men.
Bagdoom.com, one of Bangladesh’s largest online shops, said their daily sale has increased to some extent, but not much compared to past Eid festivals.
“The demand for emergency products including face masks, thermal scanner and other personal protective equipment (PPE) is higher than the fashion and lifestyle items now,” said Maruf Zaman, Head of Operations.
But fashion brand Le Reve is seeing a rise in online sale, said its General Manager SM Iqbal.
“We received 200-250 online purchase orders on average a day during this Ramadan. But its gradually picking up as Eid nears. Last week, we received over 300 orders a day,” he said.
Nayori, an online wholesaler of women’s fashion and lifestyle items, is now closed as it cannot import products. Its owner Shazia Onick Nirma said online shops solely dependent on imported goods are hit hard by the crisis.
“More than 90 percent of the country’s online shops are now closed as they could not import goods or manage fresh collections after finishing their stocks,” she said.