Ramadan is set to provide a boost for UAE retailers, with two in five (40%) consumers believing that Ramadan has the best offers and is the best period for them to make all their purchases, new YouGov research reveals.
The data shows that three quarters (76%) of people in the emirate are ‘Ramadan shoppers’ – those who make either planned or impulsive purchases during the holy month. This is a higher proportion that the average for consumers in other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states. Around three in five (58%) state that they already have certain purchases in mind that they want to make this Ramadan.
While consumers are on the look-out for promotions across a broad range of categories, many are focusing in on offers in certain specific areas. Over half are looking for deals in groceries and fresh produce (54%) and clothes (51%), while well over a third are keen to find mobile phone (39%) and fashion accessory (36%) bargains.
The study suggests that brands only really matter when it comes to big ticket Ramadan purchases. Around half pick look for specific brand offers for cars (54%), mobile devices (54%), computers and laptops (50%), cameras (49%), while over four in 10 seek out offers from big names in the household electronic (45%), beauty product (44%) and household appliance (41%) spaces.
Despite the growth in e-tailing over recent years, the research shows that few (9%) plan to only shop online during Ramadan. Instead, the majority plan to spend at least some of their shopping time either exclusively at the mall/in store (39%) or a combination of in-store and online (38%). Around one in seven (14%) will shop wherever has the best promotions.
Yet despite this preference for physical stores, consumers may divert from their normal shopping behavior during Ramadan. Over four in 10 (44%) will go to a different mall than usual if it either has good offers across its stores or if it has their preferred brands on sale. Fewer people (39%) state that they will go only to their preferred malls irrespective of the offers/promotions available.
The research shows that although a lot of shopping is done in-store, many customers get to know of offers through electronic channels. Around four in 10 find out about promotions via social media ads (42%) and internet ads (39%), while three in 10 (30%) hear through promotional emails/SMS from companies and brands. There is still a space for more traditional methods, however, with in-store adverts (38%), word-of-mouth (33%), and out-of-home (33%) influencing the choices of Ramadan shoppers.
Ramadan represents an enormous opportunity – both for retailers and customers. While it is fair to say that, on the whole, consumers want bargains, the key for shops – be they online or actual stores – is important to know what type of deals they are looking for and on what products. Shoppers in the holy month also favor going to malls instead of going online. By understanding the mindset of the Ramadan shopper, retailers and advertisers can reach them more effectively.