Retailers should intensify their advertising campaign efforts during specific periods in Ramadan to gain early visibility, increase engagement with shoppers and enhance sales, according to a study by Criteo.
The analysis revealed strong online sales in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region in the lead up to and during Ramadan, which took place from 26 May to 24 June in 2017. Online retail sales were at its peak on June 8, about two weeks before Eid al-Fitr on 25 June. A maximum of 52 per cent uplift in online retail sales was observed during this period, indicating the precise time period where shoppers would be more compelled to spend for the season. Online travel sales also saw a gradual rise during Ramadan, with the biggest uplift seen two days after Eid al-Fitr – a 14 percent uplift.
Criteo’s findings were derived through an analysis of more than 44 million retail shopping transactions and more than 28 million travel sales transactions on desktops and mobile devices from 57 major advertisers across the SEA region.
The top performing sub-verticals in the SEA region, based on uplifts in sales are:
• Toys and Games – 62 per cent (Singapore: 98 per cent)
• Health and Beauty – 53 per cent (Singapore: 143 per cent)
• Electronics – 42 per cent (Singapore: 99 per cent)
• Home and Living – 42 per cent (Singapore: 91 per cent)
This trend closely mirrors other regions. Shoppers in the Middle East typically shop a couple of weeks before Ramadan begins. This trend continues to escalate during Ramadan, where the highest uplift in sales was observed one to two weeks before Eid al-Fitr. Consumer electronics, fashion, and food and travel lead the way as the strongest performing sub-verticals, but more people are also shopping online for home and living goods, health and beauty products, and groceries. A stark difference between the region and SEA was that travel sales saw a surge in the last week of Ramadan as many in the Middle East tend to travel during Eid al-Fitr, which also corresponds with the summer holidays.
“The global halal industry is projected to surpass USD1 trillion in size by 2030. Given that Ramadan is a key festival in the region, SEA is set to contribute significantly to this market growth. We are seeing a rise in variety and awareness of halal products amongst Muslim and non-Muslim shoppers. Retailers can stand out by bidding more aggressively at the right time to boost online engagement and transactions,” said Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Criteo.
Criteo’s findings also highlighted the need for retailers to optimize their mobile apps and sites for increased retail sales and travel bookings during Ramadan. More retail shoppers in SEA are shopping on mobile, as seen by the maximum uplift of mobile apps at 64 per cent (Singapore: 61 per cent) and 52 per cent (Singapore: 46 per cent) on the mobile web. Travel sales are no exception, with SEA noting a 28 per cent maximum uplift in sales for mobile apps three days after Eid-al-Fitr and the mobile web four days after Eid-al-Fitr respectively. For Singapore, the trend differs slightly as the maximum uplift in sales for mobile apps happened close to three weeks after Eid-al-Fitr at 20 per cent, while maximum uplift in mobile web occurred slightly over two weeks after Eid-al-Fitr at 33 per cent.
“Millennials are a rising demographic within the Islamic community. They are tech-savvy and use social media to regularly connect with their favourite brands. With millennials having a greater inclination towards discovering new online products and purchasing them during Ramadan, this season presents retailers with a key opportunity to engage both first-time and existing buyers. This sets the platform for further engagement beyond the Ramadan season, through our commerce marketing technology, to sustain brand loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. Our findings reinforce that mobile is an imperative channel for retailers to effectively reach out to millennials,” said Mr Villani.