Online retail sales will see a "significant uplift" during Ramadan, especially during the last couple of weeks before Eid-al Fitr, as consumers buy gifts and presents for family, relatives and friends. Meanwhile, travel bookings will rise during Ramadan and peak in the days after Eid-al Fitr, coinciding with the period when consumers look to make bookings and travel for their summer holidays.
This is according to data from Criteo, which tracked over 44 million retail shopping transactions, and over 28 million travel sales transactions across desktops, smartphones and tablets from 57 major advertisers in Southeast Asia. Mobile sales include transactions carried out via mobile websites and apps on smartphones and tablets.
Retail sales on mobile remain high during Ramadan, making up for the drop in desktop sales during the weekends. In the meantime, retail sales on apps also showed a maximum uplift of 64% and 52% on mobile web during Ramadan, according to Criteo's data. The drop in online shopping is only apparent on desktop during the Ramadan weekends, as consumers still continue to shop on mobile.
Alban Villani, GM, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Criteo, said retailers that understand when and on what platforms consumers are shopping on, especially during festive seasons, can better plan their marketing strategies to help customers discover the products and services they need, and maximise sales.
He said that the trend of consumers making purchases a few weeks before Ramadan is apparent in both Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The trend continues to escalate during Ramadan, with the highest uplift in sales seen one to two weeks before Eid al-Fitr.
Villani said that consumers today are "more confident" with completing purchases within apps, and they also explore more products within the platform. He added:
Retailers should invest in personalisation technologies to increase customer engagement.
"Marketing strategies and technologies that help to connect customers to what they need at the best time will boost conversions, drive sales and encourage repeat purchases in the long run," Villani said.
Online traffic peaks during office hours
According to ShopBack's data, which was gathered from 26 May to 24 June 2017, it observed an uplift in online shopping traffic from 2pm to 4pm in Malaysia, which is similar to the non-Ramadan period except for a 10% to 15% increase in volume. ShopBack's spokesperson said:
It is always worthwhile to invest in marketing during working hours.
Meanwhile, traffic is lower between 7pm to 8pm due to iftar. However, traffic picks up the hour after iftar, with Malaysia displaying an uplift in traffic of around 40%.
ShopBack also noted an overall uplift across all verticals during the first week of Ramadan, and advises marketers to kickstart their campaigns on a strong note with storewide promotions to encourage purchase behaviour. The spokesperson added that electronics such as cameras and mobile phones were popular among Malaysian consumers during the last two weeks of Ramadan in 2017.
Marketers who do not deal in this category can consider striking partnerships with brands that serve these categories to further boost in Ramadan sales. ShopBack's spokesperson also said that marketers with limited resources for a marketing boost can choose to concentrate their efforts on the single platform that matters to a specific market they are targeting.
What marketing strategies are brands taking?
In a statement to A+M, a spokesperson from Mudah, a Malaysian online marketplace, said that it aims to be relevant to Malaysians during Ramadan. As such, its campaign leading up to the festive period is "Raya Ini, Semua Pun Mudah", positioning itself as a one-stop solution to help them find the products they need for Hari Raya Puasa.
Knowing that family is an important component during Raya, it tied up with Booking.com and Easybook.com to offer consumers a 10% discount for bus, ferry and train tickets, as well as exclusive travel deals to be home with their loved ones. Consumers looking for new clothes for Raya will also be exposed to products on Mudah from brands such as Hipster by Zery Zamry, Benua Clothing by by Altimet and Anaabu by Farhana Abu Sanah. It also created a Raya song titled "Aku Balik Kampung" to lift the spirits of consumers and get them excited about Raya.
Meanwhile, Agatha Soh, head of regional marketing, Shopee told A+M that its marketing strategies for major campaigns, including Ramadan, are tailored to the users in each specific market. For Malaysia, it launched the Cahaya Raya campaign which will run until 17 June, offering prizes worth a total of RM1.5 million.
Additionally, in line with the spirit of giving back this Raya, Shopee Indonesia launched the #MemberiDariHati campaign, which allows users to donate through the Shopee app, along with its Big Ramadan Sale. The campaign, which was unveiled on 30 April, is part of Shopee Indonesia's commitment to support the education and improve the welfare of Indonesian children across the country.
[gallery link="file" ids="223785,223786,223787,223830,223831,223832,223834,223835"]
Stop telling, start doing: How to cut through the Ramadan ad clutter
MAC Cosmetics mocked for Ramadan-themed suhoor makeup video
Ramadan tips: Daily habits of Malaysian and Indonesian Muslims