Consumers turn to mobile spending during Ramadan: Criteo

Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO), the performance marketing technology company, has announced the results of their recent study that reviews transactions of online retailers and travel providers across the MEA region during last year’s Ramadan.  The findings give insight into consumer trends during one of the most important times of the year for the region and the impact that it has for online retailers.

One of the most intriguing insights from the study is the increasing importance of mobile commerce for retailers.  Mobile was the preferred device throughout the Ramadan period, with spending increasing from 44% two weeks prior to Ramadan, to 49% by the last week, and 57% during Eid al-Fitr.  However, share of desktop engagement was seen to recover post Eid al-Fitr when regular working hours resumed.  

Other key findings include an increase in online purchases during Ramadan evenings. Twice as much traffic than usual was recorded including a significant increase in sales transactions with 16% more transactions taking place at night in comparison to a usual week.  Weekends during Ramadan saw a steady stream of e-commence activity with Friday performing only slightly below other days of the week.  Interestingly, Fridays saw desktop usage drop 10% when compared to Mondays, while mobile usage surged 10%. 

Regardless of the device, retail sales increased by 15% and travel bookings soared by 35% as consumers made plans to spend their Eid holidays with friends and family. Additionally, retail sales decreased by 37% from the third week to Eid al-Fitr, but slowly rose after Eid with a 17% increase. Online travel bookings continued to witness an increase by 3% from the third week to Eid al-Fitr, and 6% after Ramadan.

Dirk Henke, Managing Director Emerging Markets, Criteo, said “Ramadan is unlike any other time of the year in the region, and our findings give us a glimpse into consumer purchasing patterns and their preferences when it comes to shopping online. It is crucial for advertisers to understand how consumer shopping behaviour evolves during different time periods in the year in order to understand when to adjust marketing activities and budgets to reap maximum benefits.” He continues, “With the exponential rise in online commerce in the region, this study can help brands better understand how they can reach their target audience and create long lasting engagement.”

Based on this research, Criteo developed four key recommendations for online retailers to maximize sales during Ramadan:

1)During Ramadan, brands should ensure that marketing campaigns are predominantly mobile focused 

2)Intensify commercial offers to accompany traffic growth and convert them into sales

3)Capitalize on the fact that shoppers are more active on their mobile devices at night and target them accordingly

4)Online travel agents should bear in mind that individuals are still going on holiday after Ramadan, and should continue their online marketing campaigns in the weeks that follow

For this research, Criteo analyzed close to 3 million transactions from more than 35 retailers based in the Middle East and North Africa region (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco and Qatar) on desktop, smartphones and tablets. 

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