The final round table of the series of events, which have been arranged by Renaissance Consultants, funded by CARE Bangladesh, and supported by MDF and GIZ, was held in the last week in Dhaka. The round table was targeted at finding constraints of private sector companies in selling products in the BoP market.
The participants of the round table were discussing about issues related to understanding of the BoP market, when Mohammad Ehsanul Haque, Regional Business Manager of d.light and a private sector representative in the round table, raised an important issue, “We introduced a solar bulb in the market, priced approximately BDT 1,500. But amazing thing is we discovered that it has not captured the kind of market share we had previously expected, though its usefulness in the BoP market is beyond doubt. Later we identified that people are buying kerosene for their funnel-lamp and simply are not interested to spend a lump sum, though not much in amount, for a better solution”
Most of private sector practitioners shared similar stories. Parveen S. Huda, Moderator of the session, shared a story from the hair care industry, “As soon as sachet was introduced in the shampoo market, most of the BoP market consumers accepted the idea and started to purchase sachet instead of large bottle. This is surprising considering that purchasing large bottle, though requires a lump sum expenditure, costs way less than purchasing same amount of shampoo in sachet format”
This is indeed a surprising but crucial insight of BoP market in Bangladesh. People in general, even if they have the purchasing power to spend a lump sum for a better quality product, generally prefer to purchase in small units, probably every week or even every day. Though in most of the cases, purchasing in small units requires way more amount than purchasing in large units, poor people have strong preference for current consumption only and hence do not want to spend money for long term consumption/ benefit. This can be explained by the fact that poor people have very minimal or sometimes even zero disposable income and hence they can’t plan or think about the days forward.
Businesses that plan to operate in the BoP market of Bangladesh need to consider this interesting insight while introducing product in the BoP market. Probably this market is not yet ready to spend lump sum for purchasing things which can be purchased in small amounts. This is indeed thought provoking and demands further research.