Apparently, this is the second Ramadan in the midst of COVID-19. However, that doesn’t mean that Ramadan will stop the joyous festivity that is always celebrated amongst Muslims in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. This holy month of worship allows them to purify their hearts and enhance their religious values.
In order to accommodate the upcoming Hari Raya after 30 days of fasting, most Muslims will start to purchase gifts, essential items and traditional clothing during the beginning of Ramadan. However, due to the coronavirus, consumer behavior has drastically changed.
Hence, by analysing billions of product catalogues and sessions, iPrice Group revealed the substantial changes in Malaysians, Indonesians, and Singaporeans’ shopping behaviour during this year’s Ramadan.
Fashion, Cosmetics and Fragrance Products Take the Lead
In the past year, many countries faced the threat of COVID-19, which inevitably led to nationwide lockdowns. However, with the gradual unblocking of interzone travel in 2021, people started to work from the office. According to the research by iPrice, Hari Raya will still go on in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, and consumers in these countries are still actively searching for non-essential lifestyle items.
Data reveals a significant search increase in items like skincare products (8140%), Kaftan (8773%) & perfume (6078%) in these 3 countries. With Ramadan being a sacred period, Muslims are inclined to look more presentable with nice clothing and flawless skin in time for the festivities.
According to data from Janio, Malaysians are an occasion-driven community, and Ramadan is one of the peak seasons for modest wear. As a result, searches for Baju Melayu saw a 4241% increase in 2021 compared to Ramadan in the previous year.
Interestingly, Indonesian and Singaporeans are more likely to purchase food and drinks online, such as cookies, coffee, dates (kurma), syrups, bottled drinks, etc. This can potentially be an indication that these snacks are essential for family and guests during virtual or small gatherings.
Peak Shopping Period amongst the Muslim Community
As we are getting closer to Eid al-Fitr preparations, a variety of promotions deals and offers boost online shopping sales. Consequentially, people started their online shopping journey at the beginning of the fasting period. The most notable shift we noticed was in the early morning before sunrise, when shopping sessions peaked.
Data shows that consumers in Singapore started their online shopping journey as early as 5 AM, after morning lull. The activity peaked at lunch break at 2 PM and after Taraweeh (the night prayer) period at 9 PM until 11 PM before bed.
Surprisingly, it was even earlier in Indonesia and Malaysia where people began to shop as early as 2 AM and 4 AM. After the morning period, the activity peaked again at 10 AM in Indonesia and noon in Malaysia.
For one, this potentially indicates that consumers were likely to search more thoroughly for products and best deals before making a purchase for their religious activities during Ramadan or Raya celebrations.
While Muslims fast the entire day from dawn to dusk, they also focus on cherished time with family, refreshing spiritual awareness, and delicious food when they break their fast. With so much to look forward to during the holy month, people are getting excited and are preparing long before the holiday begins.
The Convenience of Mobile Phones
As most shopping platforms are equipped with official mobile apps, these encourage people to shop with little to no limitations -- anytime and anywhere. With increased online consumption, iPrice noticed that consumers pull out their smartphones to purchase items online.
Advertisements, push notifications, and reminders from mobile shopping apps drive mobile phones to be the most used device for consumers in Indonesia (93%), Malaysia (68%) and Singapore (55%) to shop online within the first two weeks of Ramadan.
By comparison, the usage of desktops only showed 43% in Singapore, 31% in Malaysia, and 6.41% in Indonesia. This also proves that the mobility and convenience of mobile transactions eclipsed tablet and desktop usage.
Data featured in this list were obtained by aggregating billions of product pages from hundreds of online merchants through iPrice Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia. Data on the increase in searches were analysed by comparing the impressions during the Ramadan period this year (12 - 26 April 2021) with the Ramadan period last year (23 April - 7 May 2020). The peak times of online shopping during Ramadan 2021 at SG, ID, and MY were obtained from the visit per hour sessions on the iPrice platforms during the first two weeks of Ramadan period 12 - 26 April 2021.
About iPrice Group
iPrice Group is a meta-search website operating in seven countries across Southeast Asia namely; Malaysia,Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Currently, iPrice compares and catalogues more than 5 billion and receives about 20-30 million monthly visits across the region. iPrice currently operates three business lines: price comparison for electronics and health & beauty; product discovery for fashion and home & living; and coupons across all verticals.
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