Revealed: the impact of Ramadan on e-commerce

Online sales are expected to surge in the Middle East in the run-up and during the holy month
Revealed: the impact of Ramadan on e-commerce
Last year, online retail sales surged early, reaching a 106 percent increase during the second week of Ramadan.
By Sam Bridge
Sat 04 May 2019 10:20 AM

Online sales are expected to surge in the Middle East in the run-up and during the holy month of Ramadan, according to an analysis of last year’s sales trends.

Criteo, the advertising platform for the open internet, said shoppers in the Middle East typically shop early into the season and slow down closer to Eid al-Fitr to focus on the celebrations.

Ramadan is expected to fall in early May this year.

Last year, online retail sales surged early, reaching a 106 percent increase during the second week of Ramadan. Consumer activity typically slowed at the end of the period, with sales and traffic dropping by up to 55 percent.

However, a quick recovery was observed in the following two weeks with reinvigorated shopper interest and activity, Criteo said.

It added that online traffic for travel sites in the region saw a continuous uplift during Ramadan, increasing by up to 51 percent in the weeks approaching Eid al-Fitr. Whiletraffic slowed during Eid al-Fitr, it quickly picked up with an increase of 63 percent in bookings in the following days.

This suggests that travellers may start planning their trips during Ramadan, but many only book after the end of the holy month, Criteo added.

The findings also highlighted that mobile presence is integral for retail sales and travel bookings during Ramadan. Data showed that in 2018, the weekly mobile share in sales surged by 17 percent during Eid al-Fitr versus 13.1 percent in the second week of Ramadan, while mobile travel bookings increased by 47 percent during Eid al-Fitr.

In-app sales also grew by up to 79 percent, indicating that consumers may be inclined to buy within apps when they provide an easy and convenient shopping experience.

“Ramadan greatly influences purchasing and consumption patterns in the Middle East, due to traditional gifting during Eid al-Fitr. Our 2018 survey has shown that 61 percent of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 58 percent in UAE intend to buy gifts for loved ones during this period," said Michele Iozzo, managing director Middle East & Africa at Criteo.

According to the report, Middle East activity is slightly different than other regions with predominant Muslim populations, such as South East Asia and Turkey, where consumer activity typically slowed at the start and end of Ramadan, with online retail sales picking up 10 days into Ramadan until one or two weeks before Eid al-Fitr.

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.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.