DHAKA: Adspend is moving towards digital in Bangladesh and e-commerce is growing fast as half of the country’s young population use the internet and most of them do so via mobile.

According to Campaign Asia-Pacific, the share of marketing budgets going into digital, social and search has leapt from 1% to 10% over the past three years.

“Initially it was foraying into display only,” explained Rabeth Khan, CEO of MediaAxis. “Then it was page likes and engagements on Facebook, and that has evolved into in-stream ads.”

The shift is being driven by consumer behaviour, with 83m people now using the internet – 93% via mobile devices – and 70% of the visitors to leading platforms like Facebook, Google and YouTube falling into the 16-30 year-old age group. Agencies, publishers and broadcasters are responding accordingly.

During last year’s Eid celebrations, for example, publishers and broadcasters made a significant amount of content available online and found that consumption rivalled traditional channels, Khan said.

This year’s Eid has signalled a surge in e-commerce, as the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr co-coincides with the start of the FIFA World Cup, The Daily Star reported, with the usual few thousand orders daily mushrooming into tens of thousands.

“Customers from rural areas are also purchasing huge volumes of products, which is a new phenomenon for this kind of business,” said Razib Ahmed, former president of the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).

Improved delivery networks and incentives offered by banks and mobile financial service providers are also helping to attract more consumers to e-commerce, which is reported to be growing at 40% to 50% a year.

Khan added that over the next seven years, some 40m people are expected to move up the earnings ladder and qualify as middle class.

But while consumers are taking to the digital life, the advertising industry lacks sufficient talent to keep pace, he suggested.

“The digital agency ecosystem in Dhaka is still quite low in terms of knowledge,” said Khan. “Everybody has the basic knowledge, but it’s time to embrace the advancements. Whoever does that faster will go ahead.”

Sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, The Daily Star; additional content by WARC staff