Global electronic payments firm Visa Inc 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% increase compared to the same period in 2013.
The findings were released in the Visa Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Ramadan and Eid spend report for 2014. The report revealed that shoppers spent big at the supermarket in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, with a 9% increase over last year.
Other key categories included jewellery stores, which saw an increase of 21% and family clothing, a category that grew 13% 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%.
“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,” says Ihab Ayoub, general manager MENA at Visa.
“We have also 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,” he adds.