The revolution of information and communication technology has played a leading role to transform the global economy towards digitalization: the digital economy. It’s considered as a driver of the modern economy to accelerate the economic growth of the nation. Nowadays, the traditional market has been replaced by a digital or online market with greater scope and confidence of the consumers. In the COVID-19 pandemic situation, it has already been proved that there is no alternative market place but online and the whole world solely depends on online economic activities. Using a self-constructed online questionnaire, this study collects data from Dhaka city of Bangladesh where a vast group of consumers are involved with online shopping. Based on both primary and secondary data, the study tries to analyze the digital economic uprising of Bangladesh by investigating the buying behavior of the consumers on online shopping and to assess the significance opportunities and obstacles of digital marketing. The article attains with the inference that digitalization has transformed the economy’s progression rapidly with significant impact. It may assist the decision makers in our country to initiates and prepare such policies which will help to create digital economy through the expansion and proper utilization of ICT knowledge and skills.
Digital economy refers to an economy focused on digital computing technology, but it is increasingly viewed as a business-driven economy by internet-based markets and the World Wide Web. The digital economy is often referred to as the Internet Economy, the Modern Economy, and the Web Economy. It is the single most important engine of innovation, competition, and development, and holds enormous potential for entrepreneurs. The digitization of a country’s economy not only drives innovation in its service industry but also boosts domestic job opportunities, enabling faster economic growth. In recent years, Bangladesh has seen rapid growth in internet access and cell phone penetration, as well as a rapidly maturing support system for digital entrepreneurs and a young population with an open-minded approach to technology. Digital Shopping has reached a wider level with people’s increasing willingness to shop online instead of visiting places physically. Skilled people with smart devices become accustomed to using digital payment methods like debit & credit cards, internet banking, mobile financial services and e-wallets. The ease of hassle-free cashless payment from anywhere has drawn people’s attention and they embrace the digital economy every day.
Human society has come to a standstill in the light of the outbreak of the Pandemic Covid-19. Like many other facets of everyday life, people had to find an alternative to the physical buying of their daily goods and other purchases. To deter virus spread, a large amount of the entire customer base has moved towards online transactions. Not only did this change in the purchasing mode trigger a significant shift in customer buying behavior, it also created a distinction in the field of the digital economy. The term Digital Economy seems to boom faster than ever expected overnight at a radical pace.
The Covid-19 pandemic has promoted online shopping activities among Bangladeshi consumers. Previously it took a lot of effort to get the customer accustomed to online shopping but the outcomes were not as effective as the outbreak current phenomenon due to Covid-19. Therefore, our study aims to investigate how the buying behavior of the customers is changing during the Covid-19 and what changes it brings to the economy. One of the changes we have observed that people are approaching this period of isolation and uncertainty is in huge overnight changes to their shopping behaviors. People are changing the patterns of what they’re buying, when, and how. Even the promotional activities are shifting towards digital promotion more and more where no human interaction is required. Digital and cashless transaction is becoming the new normal and the safest mode of transaction in term of mitigation of transmission. Online business are booming at the fastest pace possible even the traditional businesses are now adopting online product delivery and services to keep pace with the emerging new normal and this shift is not momentary the more a country will be able to adapt to online businesses the faster it will be able to run in the digital economy race because it’s just a matter of time for most of the business to operate in online platforms and the economies will eventually be turned into digital economies.
Based on several secondary information, the study has carried out some important points that with all challenging issues of the COVID-19 crisis, it creates a digital revolution to the economy. Though the e-commerce sector in Bangladesh is facing some shortcoming due to lockdown, restriction, closure of transportation, etc. some new and existing entities are come forward with their products in this situation. Chaldal, Pathao, Shohoz, Foodpanda, Daraz, Ajker deal, Priyoshop etc. have been contributing tremendously from the bigging of the crisis. According to the commerce secretary of (DCCI), at present, the market size of E-commerce in Bangladesh is around USD 2 billion (Source: Financial Express, December,20) and it expected to be reached at USD 3 billion by 2023.
Growth of E-commerce Industry in Bangladesh
From the above graph, it is seen that a vast revolution has been occurred in digital marketing. The market size increase from 5 to greater than 150 by 5 years. During COVID-19, the growth of e-commerce industry in Bangladesh is remarkable.
Spreading of the internet, online payment methods, and overall ICT structure determine and drive the online business more rapidly. At present, the penetration rate of the internet and the coverage area of Bangladesh is higher than previously. Despite the various difficulties of online shopping, the factors like price, quality, security, reliability, time-saving, energy-saving, traffic ignorance, etc. are the most prime factors that lead the customers for choosing online shopping. However, Covid-19 adds the essential term ‘social distance” that diverse a large number of customers to enhance their intention on online shopping and people have no alternative but online for their basic and daily requirements. A vast number of consumers now depend on online as well as the digital economy and in that sense, it turns the pandemic obstacle into an opportunity to expose us as more digitalize. The study reveals the consumer behavior of online shoppers in Bangladesh and it helps the decision-makers and techno-entrepreneurs to synchronize their existing policies and put more emphasis on preparing new policies to explore and enhance the digital trends in Bangladesh. This is surely a good sign for the industry in the long run. However, if the pandemic continues for a longer period, then a large number of smaller e-commerce firms will drop out of the race and that might create a major problem,” (Chief Executive Officer of AjkerDeal.com, Fahim Mashroo. 2020).
About the writer
Sunjida Khan is currently working as an Assistant Professor (Economics) at Business Administration Department of Daffodil International University in Bangladesh and pursuing Ph.D at Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. She worked as Senior Research Executive at Young Consultants under a project which was jointly organized by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and Bangladesh. She also engaged as Research Officer at InM (Institute of Microfinance), a sister concern of PKSF (Palli Karma Shayak Foundation) which is the renounce development organization of the Government of Bangladesh. During her working period in several development organizations, she also served as “Trainer”. Ms. Sunjida completed her Post Graduation and Graduation from Department of Economics at Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She received academic scholarships during her studying period of M.Sc. and B.Sc. level according to merit. She has some articles which focused the area of International Trade, Development Economics and Social Science at national and international journals.