Retail, Technology

Consumers turn to e-commerce in the social distancing economy: Criteo

Alistair Burton, Ramadan e-commerce criteo
Alistair Burton, Criteo

Criteo has released its research on online consumer spending during the month of Ramadan. The surge in e-commerce purchases is expected to rise further during Ramadan as Muslims head online to prepare for the Holy Month.

A general uplift in online sales started around late February and significantly jumped mid-March. Categories that saw a massive increase in sales amidst the coronavirus crisis since March expectedly include protective gear, fitness, games, outdoor equipment, food, and video games consoles.

According to Criteo data, categories with the highest volume of sales since mid-February in MEA are personal care, clothing, kitchen and dining, electronics accessories, shoes, communications, audio, jewelry, décor and clothing accessories.

“Globally, we have seen daily web traffic surge by more than 50 percent. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, consumers have moved online: whether for work, school or shopping,” said Alistair Burton, country manager MEA, Criteo.

“As most traditional retailers remain closed, we expect this trend to continue during Ramadan, a month that has a significant impact on purchasing and consumption in the region. Brands and retailers have the opportunity to listen to their customers, help them maintain traditions, and prove business continuity is in place.”

Last year, online retail sales started increasing from 10 days prior to Ramadan and reached a 47 percent increase, 10 days into Ramadan. Consumer activity slowed near the end of the period, with sales and traffic dropping by up to 13 percent during Eid al-Fitr. While people may have been more focused on celebrations with family and friends during this time, the following month saw a quick recovery and reinvigorated shopper interest and activity.

As consumers’ sleeping patterns change during Ramadan, shopping patterns shift too, with surges in the hours after sunset. Criteo’s Ramadan data shows retail sales at 17 percent above the baseline at 4am during Ramadan, while sales are 49 percent below the baseline on an average day. There is a significant drop in sales between 6-7pm, coinciding with iftar, the first meal after a day of fasting. Criteo Ramadan data from 2019 shows app and mobile sales are higher during the increased shopping at 4am, with strongest recovery in app and mobile sales after iftar. Weekly mobile sales grew by 61 percent during the week of Eid al-Fitr.

Across the world, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has had a significant impact on the e-commerce landscape. A recent Criteo survey of more than 10,000 people showed that globally, half of consumers say they will purchase more online because of coronavirus.

Criteo’s latest analysis, which includes data from Criteo’s Shopper Graph that covers approximately 2 billion monthly active shoppers, showed strong sales worldwide in the following categories: sweets, apparel (sleepwear and loungewear), fitness and sporting goods – such as exercise bands, webcams and gaming products, grooming gear, pet supplies and baking items.

Criteo’s findings suggest that about half of all countries around the globe are experiencing an uplift in online sales transactions; attributed to the shift in shopper behaviour as consumers observe social distancing.

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