With summer already here, Ramadan is upon us. 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 Middle East increases. And as it increases so do the marketing budgets to take advantage of this growth.
If you are a business new to the Middle East or a company looking to set up here but unsure if Ramadan is the right time, here are some basics that are worth considering.
Products that sell well
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 time back home 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 summer 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.
Social media usage is at an all time high in the Middle East during Ramadan and there is a reason for it. During the holy month, people in the Middle East enjoy shorter working hours, giving them more time to network. To take advantage of this the majority of companies 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.
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. 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.
James Swallow is the commercial director at PRO Partner Group