UAE, KSA & Egypt consumers to spend more on food this Ramadan

As the holy month of Ramadan begins today, consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will spend more on food and drinks over the course of the next 30 days, indicates market research firm YouGov’s Ramadan Consumer Behaviour story.

Over half (53%) of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will spend more money during the holy month, of which 93% expect to increase their spend specifically on regular household items such as food, drinks and groceries.

Dates (73%), laban (62%), yogurt (61%) and powdered soft drinks, squashes and cordials (all 53% respectively) are among some of the top products that consumers intend to increase their consumption of during Ramadan.

Due to the perishability of these items, consumers are likely to buy them regularly rather than in bulk and therefore price-offs (43%) and discounts (35%) are the most appealing promotions for 78% of consumers in these three countries. Offers related to bulk purchases have higher appeal for personal care and household care products.

Consumers are less likely to be brand loyal when it comes to food and drink products; 40% of respondents overall claim they will always buy from brands that have the best offer/promotion irrespective of who makes them. Marginally fewer will stay loyal to a select set of brands and only buy from those that have the best offer/promotion among them (38%), while 22% will always stay brand loyal whether there are offers and promotions or not.

Commenting on the findings, Pranay Dandekar, head of consumer research for YouGov in MENA, says, “It is evident that although there is an increase in consumption and expenditure during Ramadan, consumers’ purchase patterns differ according to the type of product they are buying which impacts the offers they look out for. Brands need to take cognisance of this fact and design the right promotions tailored to specific product categories in order to stand out from the crowd and win the fight for consumer attention.”

Almost two-thirds (59%) of consumers in Egypt expect to spend more overall during the holy month, followed by 56% of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 46% in the UAE. Most consumers in all three countries (68%) expect to cover the extra cost using their regular income, while 29% will dig into their savings.

In addition, the research also looked at consumers’ intended travel plans during Ramadan and Eid in 2016. When asked if they expect to travel during Ramadan, 72% of respondents claimed they don’t have any travel plans at all, predominantly because they prefer to spend the holy month in their country of residence (63%).

Respondents in Egypt (69%) and Saudi Arabia (66%) claimed they prefer to stay in their home country the most, compared to the UAE (52%). The second highest proportion of respondents in all three countries claimed they won’t be travelling because they have work commitments (17%). This was most prevalent in the UAE (23%), compared to 16% of respondents in Egypt and 12% in Saudi Arabia.

Despite low levels of travel during Ramadan, 43% of respondents in all three countries expect to travel during Eid this year. Of those that are travelling, 56% intend to travel within their home country compared to 30% who intend to travel aboard. The most appealing promotions for travellers during Eid are discounted promotional offers on flights (62%), followed by discounts on hotel stays (57%).

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