How Ramadan impacts the consumer behaviour of Saudis

05 April 2023 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

As the 2023 edition of Ramadan takes places, new research by Strategic Gears has found that consumer behaviour during the holy month will differ (markedly) from other periods of the year.

For the Muslim community globally, Ramadan is one of the most important times of the year. It is a time for introspection, prayer, and fasting throughout the day.

This year, Ramadan takes place from March 23 to April 21, although dates may change, depending on the appearance of the new crescent moon, which heralds the beginning of the month of Shawwal, or after the 30th day of Ramadan.

During the holy period, Muslims refrain from food and drinks from dawn to sunset – this act of fasting is meant to remind Muslims of the less fortunate and to reinforce the need to be thankful. As one of the five pillars of Islam, fasting during Ramadan is mandatory for all healthy adult Muslims (children, elderly and pregnant women are exempted).

Shifting consumer behaviour

The change in lifestyle during Ramadan also means consumers change what, how and when they consume.

To gain insight into shifting consumer behaviour during Ramadan, management consultancy Strategic Gears surveyed 300 people in Saudi Arabia (50% men and 50% women) on multiple facets of their expected purchasing patterns during the fasting season.

The end result: a 40-page analysis with about just as many charts. A round-up of notable conclusions:

What do consumers spend their money on during Ramadan?

Consumer Spending Activities during Ramadan

What do consumers buy in physical stores during Ramadan?

Products Usually Purchased by Respondents In Person during Ramadan

What do consumers buy online during Ramadan?

Products Usually Purchased Online by Respondents during Ramadan

Notably, the mix of consumer purchases in stores shifts during Ramadan:

Products Usually Purchased In-Person by Respondents during Ramadan Versus Rest of the Year

The same is true for items purchased online through websites, marketplaces or social channels:

Products Usually Purchased Online by Respondents during Ramadan Versus Rest of the Year

Ramadan spending peaks at two instances: 2 weeks before Ramadan; and 1 week before Eid.

Unlike mega shopping feasts such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, nearly all purchases for Ramadan happen in the weeks prior to the holy month.

Times When Purchasing for Ramadan Happen

Recommendations

Based on the analysis, Strategic Gears advises businesses to tap into the commercial opportunity that Ramadan poses (spending is up significantly on surrounding months), but while doing so, wisely take into account consumer behaviour specifics.

Key recommendations for businesses include: consider Ramadan as a season panning 6 weeks, be mindful to changes in daily working hours and routines, and align marketing spend to changed behaviour.