Catalysts of Change

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Exploring the evolution and adaptation of consumerism in Bangladesh through three distinct examples that represent a pivotal moment in the country’s consumer landscape.


 

Consumerism in Bangladesh has undergone significant transformations over the years, driven by various socio-economic factors, technological advancements, and changing consumer preferences. This article aims to explore the evolution and adaptation of consumerism in Bangladesh through three distinct examples: the evolution of brand perceptions, the rise of digital consumption and the real estate renaissance. Each example represents a pivotal moment in the country’s consumer landscape, shedding light on how businesses and brands responded to changing demands and how consumers, in turn, shaped the market.

 

Brand Perceptions: Unravelling Consumer Preferences in Bangladesh

A country defined by its velocity market, unprecedented GDP growth in the early 21st century, and a young population with 60% under the age of thirty, Bangladesh presents a unique landscape for consumer preferences. Traditionally, brands in Bangladesh have played it safe, tapping into themes that resonate with the culture and traditions deeply cherished by the people. Themes of family, friendship, and the preservation of religious beliefs have been central to brand communication strategies. Despite evolving with the tide of time, the essence of the strategy has been the core of branding communication efforts throughout the decades. A pivotal moment in this evolution was marked by the introduction of halal soap by Jamuna Group, which revolutionised how the personal care industry communicates with its patrons in Bangladesh. The move struck a chord with the predominantly Muslim population, aligning with their religious beliefs and ethical considerations. This successful launch sent a clear message to brands about the importance of understanding and catering to specific consumer preferences and values.

 

 

Building on this trend, the highly successful launch of Sunsilk Hijab Shampoo in recent times further affirmed the significance of catering to consumer motivations. The brand capitalised on the demand for products that resonate with the growing hijab-wearing community, demonstrating that a deep understanding of religious and cultural practices can lead to commercial success. At the same time, in Bangladesh, the ‘we-me’ mentality reigns supreme in consumers’ minds, especially in the mind of the young generation. This sense of inclusiveness, yet to remain distinct, was at the heart of Grameenphone’s campaign to storm the mobile subscription market through its youth-centric product, Djuice, two decades ago. The idea of Bondhu, Adda, Gaan (Friend, Hangout, Song) ushered in a cultural shift in the realms of advertising and brand image where youth lingos are no longer considered slang and going out with friends is not only normalised but celebrated. The Djuice campaign initiated and catalysed a cultural shift that has transformed how we imagine the bond of friendship and allowed businesses and brands to communicate to an entirely new segment. Later we saw global brands like Nescafe with their paradigm shift campaign Cholo Shobai (Get Set Go) or local brands like Mojo with their campaign Asmaney Pakha Melo (Spread Your Wings) successfully utilise this ‘breaking the barrier’ spirit to attract the country’s youths, creating perfect examples how Brand Perception can be utilised to attract the perfect target audience.

As Bangladesh continues to embrace its entrepreneurial spirit while respecting its traditional culture and working methods, brands are evolving by adapting to the fixed dynamics. At the same time, the brands are also facilitating products and communications that often end up transforming the very core of our social fabric. By embracing each other’s importance, businesses and consumers can build enduring relationships and thrive in this exciting landscape and not only build great brands but also profitable businesses.

 

Digital Consumerism in Bangladesh: A Landscape of Transformation and Innovation

If we look closely into the rise of digital consumerism in the country, grocery shopping, food delivery, and the captivating realm of Facebook commerce have been the bedrock of its evolution. Chaldal stands out as an exemplar among the pioneers in this domain, revolutionising the shopping experience for essentials. Offering a diverse array of products, impeccable delivery services, and an intuitive website and app, Chaldal seamlessly integrated itself into households across Dhaka and beyond, and helped to catalyse a segment that would eventually become one of the most thriving segments of Bangladesh’s digital consumerism.

 

 

Throughout financial history, few steps have been as transformative as the emergence of bKash in Bangladesh. As a pioneering mobile financial service, bKash unleashed a seismic shift, empowering the masses to bank, pay, and transfer money effortlessly. With an unwavering commitment to financial inclusion, bKash has brought the previously unbanked into the fold, unlocking vast economic potential. Embracing the spirit of innovation, this digital juggernaut has redefined the nation’s financial landscape, heralding a new era of financial empowerment for all.

Similarly, the demand for food delivery services has skyrocketed in Bangladesh, leading to the emergence of local platforms like HungryNaki and then joined by global players like Foodpanda. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Foodpanda’s collaboration with local eateries to provide special meal deals was a testimony to its commitment to alleviating the challenges faced by customers and businesses during the crisis.

Bangladesh has also witnessed the rise of Facebook commerce, popularly known as F-commerce, owing to its populace’s active engagement with social media. Enterprising youths and women across the country quickly grasped the potential of Facebook as a marketplace, consequently giving rise to numerous subsequent segments such as promotion and delivery. They provided a conduit for small businesses to showcase and sell their products through Facebook and Instagram, offering crucial support in logistics, payment solutions, and marketing assistance.

Adaptability and customer-centricity are crucial for success in the ever-evolving online consumer market. A notable illustration of this is the trajectory of Pathao, originally renowned for its ride-hailing services. Recognising the potential for diversification, Pathao ventured into food delivery and eventually expanded into e-commerce. This innovative approach of offering multiple services within one app has garnered tremendous popularity among Bangladeshi consumers, epitomising the importance of staying attuned to consumer needs and preferences.

The ascent of digital consumerism in Bangladesh has been catalysed by factors such as convenience, changing lifestyles, and an unwavering commitment to innovation. With consumers becoming increasingly tech-savvy and entrepreneurial initiatives leveraging the digital realm, we are poised to witness an ever-evolving landscape of exciting developments in the years to come.

 

Real Estate Renaissance: Bangladesh’s Property Boom Changing Lives

Over the last two decades, Bangladesh’s real estate sector has undergone an incredible transformation, reshaping how people live and consume across the nation. This exciting shift has been driven by the rise of luxurious shopping malls, giving birth to a vibrant culture of dining out and family outings, creating new opportunities in the hospitality and entertainment industries. The traditional demand for regular flats has evolved into a fascination with modern condominiums and luxurious serviced apartments.

 

 

What’s driving this change? With Bangladesh’s impressive economic growth, more people now have extra income to spend. As the middle class expands and prospers, so does the desire for living spaces that offer elegance, convenience, and contemporary amenities. Bangladeshi consumers now seek residences that match their refined tastes and preferences. Regular homes are no longer enough. Instead, they crave avant-garde condominiums that stand tall as architectural marvels, complete with top-notch facilities like state-of-the-art gyms, swimming pools, and rooftop gardens. These abodes embody a cosmopolitan lifestyle, inviting residents to indulge in pure opulence.

In addition to condominiums, serviced apartments have also become incredibly popular among urban professionals. These fully-furnished, sleek homes offer a nomadic lifestyle without the burden of homeownership responsibilities. Their strategic locations in bustling city centres attract a demographic that values accessibility and convenience.

This real estate revolution extends its influence beyond the property sector, sparking transformative effects on other industries as well. The hospitality sector, for instance, is booming due to the rising culture of dining out in grand shopping malls. Shoppers now seek not only retail therapy but also delightful culinary experiences within these commercial wonders. Likewise, the entertainment sector has experienced a surge thanks to this real estate boom. Modern shopping malls now house state-of-the-art multiplex cinemas, upscale gaming zones, and immersive amusement parks, creating all-encompassing destinations for families seeking leisure and recreation.

Bangladesh’s real estate sector has become more than just brick and mortar; it has evolved into a hub of mutual growth, where businesses and consumers come together to create a dynamic and symbiotic ecosystem. As developers strive to offer ever more ambitious living spaces for the burgeoning middle class, consumers support the businesses thriving within these commercial paradises. This virtuous cycle showcases the transformative power of a thriving real estate sector, reshaping the way people live and consume in Bangladesh. As the nation continues its economic growth journey, the allure of modern living spaces will persist, and the industries connected to this ever-expanding sun will continue to bask in its rays of prosperity.

 

 

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