In the run up to Ramadan 2016, YouGov surveyed residents in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt as part of its annual Ramadan study to discover expected changes in consumer behavior in and around Ramadan.
The study found that over half (53 percent) of respondents will spend more, of which 93 percent expect to increase their spend specifically on regular household items such as food, drinks and groceries.
The initial outputs from the research, which will continue to run throughout Ramadan and Eid to capture the changing habits of consumers across a number of different product groups, found that the increase in expenditure will come predominantly from an increase in the consumption of food and drink. Due to the perishable nature of these items, consumers are likely to buy them regularly rather than in bulk and therefore price offs (43 percent) and discounts (35 percent) are the most appealing promotions for 78 percent of consumers in all three countries. Offers related to bulk purchases have higher appeal for personal care and household care products.
Consumers Will Spend More
Almost two thirds (59 percent) of consumers in Egypt expect to spend more overall during the Holy month, followed by 56 percent of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 46 per cent in the UAE. Most consumers in all three countries (68 percent) expect to cover the extra cost using their regular income, whilst 29 percent will dig into their savings.
The top products consumers intend to increase their consumption of during Ramadan are dates (73 percent), Laban (62 percent), Yogurt (61 percent) and powdered soft drinks, squashes and cordials (all 53 percent respectively).
Given the attraction of promotions and offers during Ramadan, the findings show that consumers are less likely to be brand loyal when it comes to food and drink products. Around 40 percent of survey respondents overall claim they will always buy brands that have the best offers irrespective of who makes them. Marginally fewer will stay loyal to a select set of brands and only buy brands that have the best promotion among them (38 percent). Almost 22 percent will always stay brand loyal whether there are offers and promotions or not.
“It is evident that although there is an increase in consumption and expenditure during Ramadan, consumers’ purchase patterns differ according to the type of product they are buying which impacts the offers they look out for. Brands need to take cognizance of this fact and design the right promotions tailored to specific product categories in order to stand out from the crowd and win the fight for consumer attention,” said Head of Consumer Research for YouGov MENA, Pranay Dandekar.
Travel To Pick Up During Eid
The research also looked at consumers’ intended travel plans during Ramadan and Eid in 2016. When asked if they expect to travel during Ramadan, 72 percent of respondents claimed they don’t have any travel plans at all, predominantly because they prefer to spend the Holy month in their country of residence (63 percent).
Respondents in Egypt (69 percent) and Saudi Arabia (66 percent) claimed they prefer to stay in their home country the most, compared to the UAE (52 percent). The second highest proportion of respondents in all three countries claimed they won’t be travelling because they have work commitments (17 percent). This was most prevalent in the UAE (23 percent), compared to 16 percent of respondents in Egypt and 12 per cent in Saudi Arabia.
Despite low levels of travel during Ramadan, 43 per cent of respondents in all three countries expect to travel during Eid this year. Of those that are travelling, 56 per cent intend to travel within their home country compared to 30 percent who intend to travel aboard. The most appealing promotions for travelers during Eid are discounted promotional offers on flights (62 percent), followed by discounts on hotel stays (57 percent).