By Andy Sambidge
Electronics payment firm says cardholders in region increased holy month spending by 16% compared to 2013
Visa Inc, the global electronic payments firm, has revealed that cardholders in the Middle East and North Africa spent on $3.98 billion during the month of Ramadan.
The total spent across all Visa products, credit, debit and prepaid represented a 16 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013.
The Visa report revealed that shoppers spent big at the supermarket in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, with a nine percent increase over last year.
Other key categories included jewellery stores, which saw an increase of 21 percent and family clothing, a category that grew 13 percent in 2014.
Interestingly, the only category to sit in the top ten but decrease, but maintain a high growth volume, were building supply stores – with spend volumes decreasing 12 percent - suggesting DIY projects were not a priority this Ramadan.
Ihab Ayoub, general manager MENA at Visa said: “Visa’s Ramadan and Eid Spend Report for 2014 has shown that consumers in our region are increasingly shifting towards an electronic payment culture.
"This trend is also supported by the adoption of e-payments by many governments in the region. We saw a growth in spend in key every day categories meaning both residents and visitors see the value in using their Visa card at the point of purchase.
“Additionally, we have seen in the data a surge in the number of premium credit card holders with the upper affluent segment being one of the fastest growing sections of society in the region. Findings from the Visa Ramadan and Eid Spend Report indicate levels of financial literacy improving, with people becoming more conscious of responsible credit card spending, while enjoying the safety and security of transacting with Visa.”For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.