The UAE is leading the value of the average Ramadan online shopping basket in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) this year, with an average order value (AOV) of $102, a report showed on Thursday.

A new study from Flowwow, a UAE-based global gifting marketplace for local brands, and Admitad, an affiliate marketing platform, has revealed that Ramadan traditions are fueling a surge in online shopping across the Mena region and motivate people to buy more. The UAE is followed by Kuwait and Qatar with $99 USD and $79 respectively.

Flowwow data shows that sales of the florist’s original bouquets have surged by 220 per cent from 2023 to 2024. The turnover of the “confectionary” category for the first three months of 2024 is already half of the total turnover for 2023. In March 2024, the company’s experts observed a 36 per cent uptick in custom-designed cakes, a 26 per cent rise in personalized bento cakes, and a 15 per cent increase in chocolate-covered strawberries featuring customized designs.

Despite the fact that the key days of the holy month are still ahead, according to Admitad partner network, the number of online orders has already increased by four per cent and gross merchandise value (GMV) by six per cent. The average order volume has also slightly increased — from $34.5 to $35.3.

Certain categories of goods and services have experienced significant spikes in popularity compared to non-Ramadan periods. Hotels have seen a remarkable increase of 56 per cent, followed by airplane tickets (+40 per cent), flowers and souvenirs (+37 per cent), electronics (+30 per cent), and food delivery (+26 per cent). Additionally, there has been a notable surge in the purchase of sporting goods (+21 per cent).

As a gifting marketplace, Flowwow is observing a remarkable uptick in the popularity of local and personalised gifts. The company’s experts report that in March 2024 alone, the number of online gift purchases from local brands in the UAE increased by 65 per cent compared to the same period last year and by 84 per cent compared to non-festive periods.

“The growing trend towards authenticity highlights a shift towards supporting local businesses and embracing individuality in gift-giving choices. Local makers often have a deeper understanding of multicultural preferences, offering unique options that resonate with people’s needs. Given UAE’s diverse population, strong cultural tradition of gift-giving, and the increasing impact of digital technologies, the country’s online gifting market presents significant growth prospects and is predicted to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19-20 per cent from 2024 to 2028,” a Flowwow statement said.

Admitad experts made a comparison with last year’s activity and revealed that users are making 15 per cent more purchases during Ramadan 2024. Interestingly, although the number of purchases has increased, the total amount spent has remained relatively stable. This suggests that shoppers during Ramadan 2024 are making smaller, more frequent orders, resulting in an overall increase in sales volume.

“As Ramadan brings together tradition and modern shopping, we’re seeing more people choosing to buy gifts online, favoring convenience and the chance to support local shops. At Admitad, our numbers show that people aren’t just buying more online; they’re also making smaller, more thoughtful purchases that truly capture the spirit of Ramadan. As Eid Al-Fitr approaches, a time when everyone is looking to buy gifts, we expect online shopping to hit new highs. This trend shows how digital shopping is not just about buying things easily but also about finding meaningful gifts that celebrate our traditions. ,” said Anna Gidirim, CEO of Admitad.

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