By Asif Hassan, Nyamolo Abagi, and Lauren Boucher
Tarek Mahmud Jewel is a small business owner in Cox’s Bazar, a seaside town 400 kilometers south of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His family business is doing well. Tarek lives in a modern home with eight other family members tucked away behind walls bathed in bright pink on a quiet street away from the main road. Tarek has an amicable personality and was kind enough to offer visitors an “appliance tour” of his home, showing guests the various AC and DC appliances that his family owns. It is not unusual for wealthier families living in Cox’s Bazar to own AC appliances compatible with solar energy systems. The grid is highly unreliable. “The electricity goes off 3–4 times every day,” he says. Tarek runs his AC appliances when grid electricity is available using solar power as a back-up energy supply.
Tarek purchased a Global LEAP-RBF incentivized off-grid TV from Rahimafrooz, a large electronics company operating in Bangladesh. “I received feedback from my neighbors that Rahimafrooz is a good brand. This is why I decided to buy their appliances.” Tarek has owned his TV for three months and uses it mostly for entertainment purposes. The most commonly watched programs are sports and drama. His children also watch educational programs.
The global off-grid appliance market, despite recent growth, remains nascent in most of the world. Good-quality, energy-efficient off-grid appliances (“high performing appliances”) are more durable than their low-quality counterparts and enable consumers to maximize the value of their system by powering more devices. However, most consumers remain unaware of their benefits. High-performing appliances are often more expensive than traditional appliances. As a result, many consumers only consider the upfront purchase price of the appliance when making a decision or see it as a high-risk investment.
Consumer experience has a significant impact on off-grid appliance sales in Bangladesh. A positive personal recommendation is one of the most effective drivers of sales. If early adopters like Tarek are satisfied with energy-efficient appliances, their positive feedback would motivate more conservative buyers and stimulate market growth.
Since purchasing his appliance, Tarek has proved to be a strong referrer for his Rahimafrooz TV. “The picture quality is better than my previous TVs and I’ve recommended this TV to my customers,” he says with an inviting smile. Tarek’s positive experience with this TV is likely to be passed by word-of-mouth and directly lead to more purchases and thereby strengthen the process of market creation.
About the Global LEAP Awards Customer Spotlight Series
The Global LEAP Awards is an international competition to identify and promote the world’s best off-grid appliances, accelerating market development and innovation. This unique program has evolved into a trusted global brand that serves as the de facto source of accurate, actionable information about the quality and energy performance of off-grid appliances, with support from Power Africa, UK aid, Energising Development, Powering Agriculture, and USAID, and in partnership with the Efficiency for Access Coalition.
This series tells stories collected through interviews with off-grid appliances customers who purchased their product through a Global LEAP Awards results-based financing (RBF) mechanism. Through its RBF, CLASP supported the delivery and enhancement of energy access for over one million beneficiaries across Bangladesh and East Africa. In Bangladesh alone, the RBF mechanism supported sales of about 194,000 energy-efficient off-grid fans and 7,000 best-in-class solar TVs. The series sheds new light on the impact, and thereby the real socio-economic value, of off-grid fans and TVs to appliance consumers in critical appliance markets like Bangladesh.