With Eid-ul-Azha around the corner, several billboards have popped up all over Karachi introducing online bakra mandis (cattle markets); however, website owners claim that they have not attracted a lot of customers as yet.

Websites such as bakraonline.pk and qurbanionline.com provide sale and delivery services to citizens; however, online traders claim that they have not had the sort of response they expected.

Online cattle market operators believe that the concept is still new and a majority of the citizens prefer to personally visit cattle markets to buy sacrificial animals that fit their budget.

At these online cattle markets, sacrificial goats are sold in the range of Rs25,000 to Rs45,000.

Rates for cows start at Rs80,000, while the rate of camels range from Rs 125,000 to Rs 175,000. A single share in the sacrifice costs Rs24,000.

Online traders are also advertising their animals on social media, while others are selling animals through trading websites like OLX and Bolee.com. However, they too have failed to attract many buyers.

“People do not like to purchase sacrificial animals online , as some traders have previously used cheap tactics to sell animals,” a spokesperson for bakraonline.com told APP, adding that this lack of trust meant their company only managed to sell 50 animals the previous year.

However, he remained hopeful and said that the demand for online markets will eventually pick up.

“We have just started, and as word spreads, people’s perceptions will change,” the spokesperson said, adding that people like going to the cattle markets with friends and children to have their prick from the large variety of animals on display.

The owner of qurbanionline.com, Muhammad Ali, said that the venture had sold more than 40,000 animals last year, but a majority of these animals were sold at brick-and-mortar display centres and only a small number were actually bought from the online market.

He also revealed that overseas Pakistanis used sadqa, aqeeqa and qurbani services to send meat to Pakistan’s less fortunate communities and orphanages.

Abdul Majeed, a buyer, believes that online businesses are likely pick up in coming years.

Another citizen said that the abundance of technology will eventually change people’s views about online markets and online animal trading will pick up in the next few years as “everyone looks for ease.”

“The trend of online buying of sacrificial animals will grow; [even its existence] is a reminder of how fast Pakistan is moving towards a digital future," he added.