Online sales to surge in the Middle East ahead of Ramadan, indicates Criteo


April 24, 2019 | By RetailME Bureau

Shoppers in the Middle East typically shop early during the Holy Month of Ramadan and tend to slow down closer to Eid Al Fitr to focus on the celebrations, indicates advertising platform Criteo. Analysis of last year’s sales trends revealed a surge in online sales in the Middle East region in the lead up to and during Ramadan.

“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% of consumers in KSA and 58% in the UAE intend to buy gifts for loved ones during this period,” shares Michele Lozzo, managing director Middle East & Africa at Criteo. “It is thus crucial for marketers and advertisers to reach out to shoppers in a couple of weeks before Ramadan with relevant messaging so that their brands are top-of-mind for shoppers when the time comes to make a decision. To maximise results, advertisers should aim to continue the campaigns in the weeks following Eid Al Fitr.”

Last year, online retail sales surged early, reaching a 106% 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%. However, a quick recovery was observed in the following two weeks with reinvigorated shopper interest and activity.

The findings also highlighted that mobile presence is integral for retail sales during Ramadan. Data showed that in 2018, the weekly mobile share in sales surged by 17% during Eid Al Fitr versus 13.1% in the second week of Ramadan. This indicated that consumers may be inclined to buy within apps when they provide an easy and convenient shopping experience. Creating convenient app and mobile web experiences will help brands maintain strong sales during the Holy Month.

The activity in the Middle East is slightly different than other regions with predominant Muslim populations, such as South East Asia (SEA) and Turkey, where consumer activity typically slowed at the start and end of Ramadan. Online retail sales picked up 10 days into Ramadan until one or two weeks before Eid Al Fitr.

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