Consumers set to spend more online during Ramadan

Consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have noted a strong inclination towards online shopping

Image used for illustrative purpose.

Image used for illustrative purpose.

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This holy month of Ramadan will witness a dynamic shift on how residents will buy goods and services given the surge in online shopping and digital payments across Mena region. A new survey from — a leading global payment solution provider — suggests there will be an even greater surge in online shopping during the upcoming Ramadan period. The survey was commissioned by and conducted by YouGov, polling 1,000 consumers in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia during the period of March 23 – 28, 2021.

Consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have noted a strong inclination towards online shopping. Around 95 per cent of those surveyed in these two countries say that they shop online, with 29 per cent doing so weekly or even daily.

This is largely consistent with an earlier report from September 2020 indicating that consumers’ embrace of online shopping is more of a long-term behaviour change rather than a temporary shift resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. In countries like Saudi Arabia, the frequency of online shopping overall seems to be increasing, with the percentage of consumers making online purchases either daily or weekly increasing from 20 per cent in September 2020 to 26 per cent today.

Sajid Azmi, founder and chief executive o of Yegertek, said: “Festivities around Ramadan result in an increase in both in-store and online shopping. While business sentiments and shopping are high, so is competition. And this is where brands who have spent on building loyalty by knowing their customers and their preferences, will have a unique opportunity during Ramadan to gratify their needs and provide personalised offers, whether for the customers own festive shopping or in the form of gift vouchers for their near and dear ones. An effective customer loyalty programme will have already created a preference for a brand during the rest of the year. This ensures that a significant number of customers turn to that retailer for their Ramadan shopping.”

Looking to the month ahead, approximately three-quarters of those surveyed (76 per cent) plan to purchase products and services online more frequently this Ramadan, or at least the same amount as last year. Meanwhile, a quarter (26 per cent) say that they will be shopping in-person less frequently for products and services. Merchants can expect certain demographic groups to drive more frequent online Ramadan purchases, particularly the most affluent consumers and those aged between 18-34 years of age.

The most popular category of products is expected to be groceries, with 60 per cent of respondents planning to purchase these online more frequently this Ramadan. That is followed by food delivery (50 per cent), clothing (44 per cent), and household products (39 per cent).

Mohammed Ali Yusuf, MENAP regional manager at, said: “Many traditionally cash-centric countries in the Middle East are now converting to higher rates of digital payments. The pandemic has spurred a payments revolution of sorts, and it is not one that is going away. With more consumers now appreciating the convenience of online purchasing and payments, there is a clear opportunity for forward-thinking businesses to do what they do better by unlocking more value in every transaction. This is particularly important during a period like Ramadan when competition amongst merchants is high, and businesses need to provide the online shopping experience that consumers are looking for.”

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