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Study: SEA consumer-spending during Ramadan up by nearly 50%

Study: SEA consumer-spending during Ramadan up by nearly 50%

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Retail sales in Southeast Asia (SEA) during Ramadan 2023 has increased by nearly 50% and despite inflationary pressures and rising concerns over costs of living, the total consumer spending in Southeast Asia is forecasted to increase by 43.41%.

Within local markets, Singapore and Malaysia are expected to see more modest growth in consumer spending. Meanwhile, Indonesia expects consumer spending to remain high, fuelled by the nation’s elections, according to a report by commerce media company Criteo. 

Don't miss: Study: 73% in ID will make mobile purchases this Ramadan 

“Given the varied economic landscape in SEA and heightened demand during Ramadan, it is necessary for marketers to revamp their strategies to effectively reach their audience,” said Taranjeet Singh, Criteo's managing director for enterprise, APAC.

“Last year's Ramadan data revealed the changes of SEA consumers' shopping habits during the holy month. Marketers need to take note of the trends to ensure that their advertising strategies are effective and engaging to their audiences at the most optimal timings." 

Sales during Ramadan 2023 

The first two weeks of Ramadan saw up to 47% increase in sales across SEA. Within the region, Malaysia experienced the highest average increase in sales with a 40% increase. Meanwhile, Indonesia and Singapore experienced a 30% and 16% increase respectively. 

Malaysia and Singapore saw sales peak during the first half of Ramadan, where sales increased by 103% and 46% respectively. In contrast, Indonesia witnessed a steady increase in sales throughout Ramadan. 

Compared to retail sales in 2022, SEA saw an 8% year-on-year (YoY) increase in 2023, with each country in the region displaying unique spending patterns. 

Singapore saw the highest rise in YoY sales, recording a 19% uptick across its retail transactions while Malaysia observed a 17% increase in YoY sales. However, Indonesia experienced a 5% decline in YoY online sales during Ramadan. 

When it comes to category sales, religious and ceremonial stood out as the top performing product category with a 101% increase in sales during Ramadan.

Other product categories that performed well included apparel and accessories (+30%)​, food and beverages (+23%)​ and health and beauty (+16%)​.

Additionally, there was a 21% YoY increase in online bookings for travel during Ramadan 2023. Three days prior to Eid, online bookings were up by 16%. 

Boosting consumer engagement this Ramadan

Considering the rise in sales, opting in on first party data is critical for marketers and retailers to prepare and strategise, said Criteo. First-party data strategies are not simply owning or collecting data but it also being able to activate it in scalable ways that benefit the consumer experience such as targeted, personalised advertising. 

In addition, marketers and retailers can seize the opportunity to tap into unified retail media platform. According to Criteo’s The Great Defrag: how commerce media will unite advertising in 2024 report, an overwhelming proportion of agencies (93%), brands (88%) and retailers (89%) said retail media has had a strong or positive impact on their bottom line in 2023.

Overall, 85% of brands and agencies agreed the ability of retail media to drive upper-funnel brand awareness is growing stronger, and 83% of publishers are looking to tap retail media ad spend by embedding products on their web pages, opening up more inventory opportunities for offsite campaigns.

For brands, agencies, and retailers, the key to growth, according to Criteo, is in finding solutions that can unite, streamline, and simplify the management and measurement of retail media to combat the challenges with budget management and measuring ROI.

Criteo added that leveraging Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) data can help unlock a wealth of insights about customer preferences and behaviour. This enables personalised marketing efforts and the creation of hyper-targeted campaigns that can resonate deeply with individual customer segments, based on their preferences and purchase history.

Lastly, building a seamless shopping experience is one way to boost engagement and drive customer loyalty. The blurring intersection of online and offline will require retailers and brands to opt for a fully integrated commerce future. As such, retailers and brands will need to partner closer together. 

Separately, Muslim cruise-travelling is also on the rise

With travel continuing to rebound across APAC, the global cruise market has been a major beneficiary. Of which, the Muslim demographic has been one of the fastest-growing segments.

In fact, for the ASEAN markets of Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, the number of Muslim passengers grew by 8%, suggesting a rising interest in cruise holidays among the region's Muslim community.

This is according to Mastercard and CrescentRating's Muslim-Friendly Cruise Report 2024. In 2023, Muslim cruise passengers reached close to 1 million, with projections showing a rapid increase to 2.8 million by 2027. 

The surge, according to the report, is likely a result of more cruise lines offering services that cater to Muslim travellers, such as halal food options and prayer facilities. 

Join us this coming 24 - 25 April for #Content360, a two-day extravaganza centered around four core thematic pillars: Explore with AI; Insight-powered strategies; Content as an experience; and Embrace the future. Immerse yourself in learning to curate content with creativity, critical thinking, and confidence with us at Content360!

Related articles:
Marketers, here's the key for deeper audience engagement this Ramadan  
Study: Global Muslim consumers to spend US$2.8 trillion by 2025, marriageable Muslims key 

Ramadan-Raya roundup: Brand campaigns we loved this season 

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