Ramadan online shopping: Engage shoppers two weeks before Eid al-Fitr to enhance retail sales

A robust mobile strategy is a must as more consumers turn to mobile apps to shop during Ramadan.

The global halal industry is projected to surpass US$1 trillion in size by 2030.

Commerce marketing technology company Criteo recently released seasonal data for the fasting month of Ramadan from 2017, to help commerce providers better engage shoppers in anticipation of the festive season.

Retailers should intensify their advertising campaign efforts during specific periods in Ramadan to gain early visibility, increase engagement with shoppers and enhance sales, according to the data.

The analysis revealed strong online sales in the South-east Asian region in the lead up to and during Ramadan, which took place from May 26 to June 24, last year. Online retail sales were at its peak on June 8, about two weeks before Eid al-Fitr on June 25. A maximum of 52% uplift in online retail sales was observed during this period, indicating the precise time period where shoppers would be more compelled to spend for the season. Online travel sales also saw a gradual rise during Ramadan, with the biggest uplift seen two days after Eid al-Fitr — a 14% uplift.

Eid al-Fitr, commonly known as Hari Raya Aidil Fitri or Hari Raya Puasa in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, is the religious holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is set to begin on May 17 this year in these countries.

Criteo’s findings were derived through an analysis of more than 44 million retail shopping transactions and more than 28 million travel sales transactions on desktops and mobile devices from 57 major advertisers across the South-east Asian region.

The top performing sub-verticals in the region, based on uplifts in sales, are Toys & Games (62%), Health & Beauty (53%), Electronics (42%) and Home & Living (42%).

Similar findings
This trend closely mirrors other regions, according to Criteo. Shoppers in the Middle East typically shop a couple of weeks before Ramadan begins. This trend continues to escalate during Ramadan, where the highest uplift in sales was observed one to two weeks before Eid al-Fitr. Consumer electronics, fashion, and food and travel lead the way as the strongest performing sub-verticals, but more people are also shopping online for home and living goods, health and beauty products, and groceries. A stark difference between the region and Southeast Asia was that travel sales saw a surge in the last week of Ramadan as many in the Middle East tend to travel during Eid al-Fitr, which also corresponds with the summer holidays.

“The global halal industry is projected to surpass US$1 trillion in size by 2030. Given that Ramadan is a key festival in the region, South-east Asia is set to contribute significantly to this market growth. We are seeing a rise in variety and awareness of halal products amongst Muslim and non-Muslim shoppers. Retailers can stand out by bidding more aggressively at the right time to boost online engagement and transactions,” said Alban Villani, general manager, South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Criteo.

Mobile shoppers
Criteo’s findings also highlights the need for retailers to optimise their mobile apps and sites for increased retail sales and travel bookings during Ramadan. More retail shoppers in South-east Asia are shopping on mobile, as seen by the maximum uplift of mobile apps at 64% and 52% on the mobile Web. Travel sales are no exception, with South-east Asia noting a 28% maximum uplift in sales for mobile apps three days after Eid al-Fitr and the mobile Web four days after Eid al-Fitr respectively.

“Millennials are a rising demographic within the Islamic community. They are tech-savvy and use social media to regularly connect with their favourite brands. With millennials having a greater inclination towards discovering new online products and purchasing them during Ramadan, this season presents retailers with a key opportunity to engage both first-time and existing buyers. This sets the platform for further engagement beyond the Ramadan season, through our commerce marketing technology, to sustain brand loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. Our findings reinforce that mobile is an imperative channel for retailers to effectively reach out to millennials,” said Villani.

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