The Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) is yet to attract a significant number of visitors, as the venue is not ready yet.
Traffic congestion, a telltale sign that the fair has begun, was also low near the fair premises on the second day.
Although the fair kicked off on Wednesday, construction of many stalls and pavilions was still incomplete as of Thursday afternoon. Visitors started coming in the evening, but the crowd was thin compared to that in previous years.
A total of 27 foreign pavilions have been set up in the fair this year, but most of them were still incomplete on the second day.
Most of the big pavilions have been taken by furniture brands, which include Akhtar Furnishers Ltd, Brothers Furniture, Hatil, Partex Furniture and Nadia Furniture Ltd.
Almost all the brands are offering up to 15 percent discount on some selected products to attract more customers.
The discounts are applicable in all the outlets of these brands across the country throughout January.
Assistant General Manager (AGM) of Akhter Group, Ashraful Insan Evan, said, "The people of Bangladesh are becoming very picky. The local market used to be dominated by non-branded furniture, but that is changing now. We have to offer such discounts because the DITF is the largest international fair of the country and many people visit it."
Nadia Furniture is offering a complete economic package for bedrooms, consisting of a bed, an almirah and a dressing table – all made of melamine board – for Tk50,000.
"We made the package considering middle income people of our country who want to decorate their bedroom with quality products at minimal cost," said the manager of Nadia Furniture Ltd, Nur Hasan Uz Zaman.
"But if anyone wants to buy a wooden bedroom package from us, they can do so by spending only Tk70,000-80,000," he added.
Local electronics brand Walton has two big pavilions at the fair this year. They are also offering up to 16 percent discount on mobile phones, and up to 10 percent discount on televisions.
Square Food & Beverage Ltd is offering up to 25 percent discount on their Ruchi, Radhuni and Chashi brands of dry food, spices and other products. They are also offering gifts with many products.
Readymade low-priced blazers have always been a huge attraction at the fair as it is always held in winter. This year, however, the lack of customers has yet to produce a similar demand for this product.
One of the blazer sellers said, "The fair just started and number of visitors is still low. We will fix the price between Tk1,400-1,600 a few days later."
A visitor at the fair said people mostly come to the fair after work. He expected the crowd to become much larger from Friday.
The fair will be open from 10am to 9:30pm every day till January 31. The entry fee has been set at Tk40 for adults and Tk20 for children – an increase of Tk 10 from last year.
The traditional month-long fair, starting on the first day of the new year, has been jointly organised by the Export Promotion Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce since 1995.