The e-commerce in Bangladesh is booming, with a Tk13,184-crore sale made in 2019 while the amount was Tk560 crore in 2016. The figure shows that the sale increased 24 times over the period of three years.
In eight months of the current year, products worth Tk1,66,616 crore were sold which is 26 percent higher compared to those during the entire year of 2019.
But lack of necessary infrastructure, digital market analysis, information and literacy, and above all lack of awareness are the obstacles to bring discipline to the e-commerce sector.
The information was revealed at a workshop organised by the Bangladesh Competition Commission on Sunday in Dhaka.
Md Mofizul Islam, chairperson of the commission, presided over the event held at the conference room of the commission.
Mohd Khalid Abu Naser, director of the commission, presented his keynote paper titled "Digital Economy" at the event. He said the e-commerce industry in Bangladesh began evolving as a proper ecosystem from the year 2012.
He also said currently, a total of 1,300 members of e-Cab are engaged with e-commerce while some 50,000 entrepreneurs are operating their business on Facebook.
The paper also said about 30,000 products are being delivered per day in Bangladesh through e-commerce and Dhaka, Chattogram and Gazipur districts account for 80 percent of them.
About 80-85% of the payment is done through cash on delivery systems and 15-20% through mobile payment gateway. A Tk4,000 crore is projected to be paid through online payment in the current year, which was only Tk168 crore in 2016, Naser continued.
He added that the commission is working on how to ensure customer satisfaction by reigning in the hike of product prices that see rise due to the market syndicate.
The director of the commission presented some empirical examples about how the developed countries are ensuring financial penalty for some tech giants due to violation of the competitive environment.
"E-commerce institutes are now using technologies like Blockchain, Data analysis, Artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, automation and cloud computing," he mentioned, adding that similar measures would be necessary to ensure proper competition in the sector.
As a new institution, the Bangladesh Competition Commission has much want of infrastructure and skilled manpower.
Naser underscored the need for digital market analysts, proper data and adequate detecting tolls.
In his address, Commission Chairman Md Mofizul Islam said most of the people have no information about the existence of Competition Commission, and that is why the number of complaints at the commission is fewer.
Mofizul termed the market system "a playground" where producers, distributors, retailers and consumers all act as players. The commission plays its part as a referee.
"We will play our due rule to ensure proper competition in the market," he vowed.
Commerce Secretary Jafar Uddin inaugurated the event virtually as the chief guest.