16 May How will Ramadan affect local businesses?
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, started on 17th May 2018 and for Muslims it is the most holy month. As well as a time of fasting, celebrating and connecting with friends and family, the month is also an exciting time for businesses to connect with their clientele too.
Each Ramadan, consumerism in the Moslem majority countries increases. And as it increases, so do the marketing budgets to take advantage of this growth and Ramadan marketing strategies has been planned in advance.
Business basics that are worth considering during Ramadan
Products that sell well in Ramadan
If you have not yet experienced Ramadan, you would be forgiven for assuming that food consumption would be down in the fasting month. However, food consumption during this month surges as friends and families feast in the evenings after many hours of fasting. Think of it like Christmas, where food commerce and food advertising is at an all time high. In fact, research has shown that fast food is a rapidly growing advertising segment during the season, as families who have less time move from traditional fare to quick options that allow them to celebrate the season as well.
Ramadan is a peak time for retailers. In addition to this, malls become a go-to place, allowing people to escape the heat of the sun. So it is not surprising that sales increase during this time.
Clothing retailers see a spike, with many shopping for new outfits for Eid. Where as the food companies head straight for the adverts as a lure, the apparel companies take a different stance and offer huge discounts to entice their customers in, making it many people’s favorite time to shop.
Clothes shops are not the only ones offering discounts to lure consumers. Electronics retailers are well known for offering some of the best deals during Ramadan. Telecom providers often discount their rates during the season, which leads to many investing in new devices.
We see a trend in retail companies opening up in the region ahead of Ramadan in order for them to launch their products at the height of consumerism.
Cafes generally do a roaring business during Ramadan.
Going to cafes after iftar and spending time there watching television and chatting with friends is a Ramadan tradition.
Charities also tend to get a boost during Ramadan as mosques collect donations and people are encouraged to donate online.
Social media usage is at an all time high in the Moslem region during Ramadan and there is a reason for it. During the holy month, people enjoy shorter working hours, giving them more time to network. To take advantage of this, the majority of brands and businesses increase their campaign expenditure during this season by approximately 20 per cent, making it a popular time for us to help public relations agencies set up in the region.
This increase in social media usage also opens doors to smaller companies, which may not have the large advertising budgets but do have a message people are interested in. In this respect, the period becomes a level playing field for companies and a popular time to launch smaller companies.
Predictions for 2018 trend this Ramadan in Malaysia and Indonesia
Mobile and digitally savvy online consumers will contribute to the economic growth. Maybank Malaysia predicted that e-commerce sales could grow to 5 percent to 10 percent of overall retail purchases over the next five years.
Especially this year, travel industry (especially local travel) will showed higher growth as more people are aware that they can book them online, such as bus ticket from BusOnlineTicket and flights from Traveloka and hotels accommodation from HotelsCombined and get Cashback via ShopBack.
Indonesians are more cost-conscious about their phone bills during Ramadan as they tend to spend more on calls to connect with their families who may be based out of their city. Getting pulsa online is more convenient and cheaper than via means of mobile banking / offline.
Not for everyone
While we have focused on the times you should set up your company ahead of Ramadan, it is not the case for all businesses.
Business-to-business companies must take into consideration the reduced working hours during the month and the fact that many workers are much less productive during this period. The productivity of workers declines in the holy month by 35-50% as a result of shorter working hours and the change in behaviour during this month. Decisions and meetings will be postponed until the period of Ramadan is over, especially in governmental institutions. Many expats also use this time to go home and visit family, reducing the working population and therefore the amount of people you can get hold of as a B2B company.
For these companies we suggest using it as a time to plan your launch so that after Eid, when business is at a high, you will be ready to go.