The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, is a major religious event celebrated by, and affecting individuals all around the world. In the Middle East, Ramadan takes on a different meaning not just for individuals, but businesses as well. Consumer behavior is affected on every level – consumer spending, advertising budgets, engagement, Internet traffic, time spent online – all experience a change. Last year, in the UAE, these metrics experiences a fluctuation of 40 percent over the norm in some cases.
This raises several questions about consumer behavior and psyche during Ramadan. Does consumer behavior change? When and what are people buying in the month of Ramadan, especially online? What are consumers searching for on Google? Veravo conducted a study and recently released a report to better understand Ramadan search and consumer trends.
– 25-35 percent increase in online engagement
– The amount of money being spent online shot up by 40 percent
– 35 percent increase in digital advertising
– Internet traffic up by 10-15 percent
– Time spent online increased by 30-40 percent
– UAE consumers spent around $1.9 billion in Ramadan.
Google search data shows varied changes across sectors:
Arts and Entertainment – Users are 2x more likely to search for Arts and Entertainment during Ramadan
Food and Dining – 64% of consumers in the UAE spend more money on groceries and charity during Ramadan
Travel and Tourism – The coincidence of Ramadan with the summer in recent years, resulted in a boost for the travel industry. In Saudi Arabia, 14% of the total household income of middle-class families was spent on hotels.
Shorter working hours, longer evenings, limited sleep, fasting during the day and heavy meals in the evenings affect consumer behavior.
The changed timings result in a large volume of searches occurring between the hours of 10 pm to 4 am. Religion and entertainment related search terms show the most increase. Overall Google usage rises through Ramadan reaching its peak toward the end of the Holy month.
The report recommends that in order to maximize the Ramadan effect, marketers should develop digital ad scheduling strategies and give more ‘budget’ to popular time periods and consider creating exclusive Ramadan promotions especially in the Food & Dining sector.