The printing industry is passing through a good time as sales of shopping bags, corporate greetings cards and Eid posters have soared this Ramadan on the back of a stable political climate, with receipts expected to hit the Tk 100 crore-mark.
Typically, sales of paper carry bags shoot up during Ramadan, the main shopping season.
Azharul Haque Azad, president of Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh that represents more than 50 leading fashion houses, said around 30 lakh pieces of shopping bags are needed during Ramadan month, which is around 50 percent of the annual demand.
“But demand for shopping bags is higher than usual this year as our sales are better than last year,” said Azad, also the managing director of the fashion house Sadakalo.
Ashraful Alam, general manager of Aarong, a leading fashion and lifestyle brand, echoed the same. The company has made around 14 lakh shopping bags targeting this Eid, up from 13 lakh units last year.
It has also made around 3,000 “box-type bags” to deliver the purchases made on its recently-launched online shopping portal.
“It is a peak time for us,” said Masum Elahi, proprietor of Quality Offset Printing Press, which makes carry bags for leading shopping centres and fashion houses.
So far this month, he has sold around six lakh shopping bags, which is almost double the number sold last year.
“We have stopped taking new orders as binders cannot give schedule at this moment,” he said, adding that he normally charges between Tk 6 and Tk 43 for per shopping bag as making cost.
AFM Shah Alam, general secretary of Bangladesh Mudran Shilpa Samity (BMSS), a platform of printing entrepreneurs, tipped around Tk 100 crore worth of shopping bags, greeting cards and posters to be sold this month.
The industry got further cheer this year thanks to corporate houses' renewed interest in sending out paper Eid greetings cards in place of e-cards.
In other words, sales of corporate greetings cards saw a spike in comparison to the previous year.
Abul Kalam Azad, chairman of Azad Products, a major printing house, said his company has so far sold around two lakh corporate greetings cards, which is almost twice the number sold during Eid last year.
An increased number of banks, insurance companies, NGO, government offices and embassies generally buy cards to greet clients or associates for enhancing public relations, he said.
They prefer to use paper cards, which cost between Tk 11 and Tk 15 apiece, as it is more workable here than text messages, according to Azad.
The market size of printing, including textbooks, stands at around Tk 3,000 crore a year, according to the BMSS.
Around 7,000 printing companies, including small and medium enterprises, are in operation across the country, employing around two lakh directly and indirectly.