As mobile phones have become part and parcel of our everyday life, living without them or with damaged ones is no more an option. And so since the advent of smartphones, the industry has been growing big along with the rise of mobile phone repair shops and servicing centres across Bangladesh.
Global and local scenario
According to alliedmarketresearch.com, the global mobile phone accessories market is expected to reach $107.3 billion by 2022. These days, accessories like selfie stick, selfie stand, mobile rings stand are also being included in this category. The market is not showing any signs of slowing down.
In Bangladesh alone, the current mobile phone market size is estimated at a value of over Tk 100 billion which is increasing every year. And to cope up with this expanding mobile phone market, the number of repair centres and accessories is also rising significantly.
The size of the mobile phone accessories and repair market is almost a quarter of the total size of the handset industry, ranging possibly from Tk 25 billion to Tk 30 billion, according to Jakaria Shahid, general secretary of Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association. He also said that the mobile phone accessories market is expanding at a rate of 30 to 40 per cent every year.
Md Alamgir Hossain Akash, the proprietor of an accessories shop in the capital’s Motalib Plaza, said that just a few years ago, the country’s accessories’ demands were met by a handful of wholesalers operating at Motalib Plaza. Currently, due to the ever-increasing mobile phone market, different shops and organisations have launched their services across Dhaka city.
Among the mobile phone accessories, batteries dominate supreme. If one considers the market size of the mobile phone accessories market as a pie and cuts it down to three segments, one will get the largest slice of the pie from battery, chargers the second largest, and the remaining portion of the pie features all the others.
Challenges faced by mobile phone accessories and repair market
Teenagers are more fascinated and keener towards buying the latest covers and designer goodies for their smartphones. However, the mobile phone accessories market in Bangladesh is highly saturated with knock-offs and cheap products. Duplicate products and accessories in the market can be found in abundance, and it is estimated that at least 50 per cent of the products are knock-offs.
It has been alleged that sometimes mechanics place fake products into the smartphones and install them which customers have no idea of, since most of them have zero to no knowledge about these. Jakaria Shahid addressed that it is not only a loss on a customer's’ end in terms of monetary value but it can also damage the handset the customer carries. There is clearly a knowledge gap among the customers and a lack of awareness in the matter. The challenge here is to identify authentic accessories and repair shops.
To address the fake product issue, some wholesalers in the country have already planned to produce accessories in the country. Shahid is one such example who has plans to set up a factory in Ashulia, on the outskirts of Dhaka city. But the cost of import and tax percentage on these goods varies from 45-60 per cent which is why it becomes expensive for many importers. This ultimately leads them to settle for cheap and low-cost alternatives and products. This is a serious issue which needs to be addressed from the policy-making level.
Dedicated platforms for mobile servicing and accessories
When it comes to mobile servicing and repairing, Mobicare appears as the largest mobile phone servicing company in Bangladesh and offers all kinds of repair solutions. Then there are platforms like ajkerdeal.com, bikroy.com, Daraz where one can shop various mobile accessories ranging from headphones to phone covers. However, whether or not these online platforms can be trusted raises a question of authenticity and issues of concern.
Just like Mobicare and these ecommerce platforms, there are different dedicated servicing centres and accessories brands in different local markets scattered throughout the country. Whether one goes to Bashundhara Shopping Complex or Jamuna Future Park, one will always find authentic showrooms of Vivo, Samsung, Xiaomi, etc that import the dedicated parts and accessories for particular brands only. Mobile care and repairing facilities are also available on the third floor of Motalib Plaza. For accessories, there are a countless number of options customers can choose from like Hatirpool Electronics Market, Gulistan Shopping Complex, etc. For Apple or iPhone users, iCentre -- located on Dhanmondi Road 7, next to Orchard Point -- can be a great solution. There is also a branch of iCentres available at Jamuna Future Park.
Experts suggest customers purchase accessories and get their phones repaired from authentic brands’ showrooms or trusted shops shunning online platforms or other places where reliability is sometimes at stake.
Fahim Ahmed Chowdhury is an undergraduate student of marketing at Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP). He can be reached at [email protected]