Ramadan is a period dedicated to compassion, self-control, and social responsibility. While daily habits change during the holy month, we can also observe an impact on consumer patterns. These changes affect the online shopping habits in the UAE and urge retailers, brands and travel companies to adapt their marketing strategies.
Last year, weekly retail sales in the Middle East rose by 29 percent in average, peaking at a 42 percent sales uplift. Retailers also saw significantly higher numbers of website visitors by 21 percent on average, compared to an average of the three-month period before. This is likely due to the traditional gifting during Eid al-Fitr, with 58 percent of consumers in the UAE planning to buy gifts for others during Ramadan. In terms of types of gifts, clothes, perfumes and toiletries comprise the most popular product categories in the Middle East.
From a travel perspective, bookings tentatively peak later than retail shopping. While consumers tend to buy gifts well ahead of time and peak early during Ramadan, travel sales happen rather late. In 2017, bookings increased throughout the month right up until Eid. The Middle East sees an overall uplift in online travel bookings of 39 percent across Ramadan and a 75 percent peak in the fourth week of Ramadan. This is likely because the extended holiday during Eid is widely spent with the beloved ones. 38 percent of consumers in the UAE are planning on flying. Last but not least, they predominantly book through digital platforms – only 13 percent of consumers in the UAE buy through a travel agent or outlet.
It is important for marketers and advertisers to consider the shift in habits during this time and tailor their approach to consumers in order to provide superior value and meet their needs. Here are my top tips on what to keep in mind:
Top Ramadan marketing tips for retailer
- Start engaging your customers early as they begin thinking about buying gifts. Marketing near the beginning of Ramadan lets you provide a relevant and engaging message to help shoppers find presents for friends and family, while also allowing you to take advantage of lower CPCs during the first two weeks of the season.
- Continue to engage your audience with special offers, customised content, and gift ideas throughout the Ramadan period. By maintaining personalised connections, you’ll stay top-of-mind when people are ready to buy something special for their loved ones.
Top Ramadan marketing tips for travel advertisers
- Start early to engage and inspire travellers, so when they’re ready to book, they’re aware of the top locations and best travel brands.
- Utilise a comprehensive, mobile-first strategy to connect with your audience through the platform they choose to engage with you on, whether mobile, web, or in-app.
The last tip is also one to consider for all players in the market throughout the year. According to statistics issued by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), mobile phone usage increased to 228.3 phones per 100 people in the UAE in the first quarter of 2017. That means that on average, consumers have more than two devices each. According to reports from Google, UAE leads global smartphone penetration at 73.8 percent. That’s why shopping and booking on mobile continues to rise in popularity also in future.