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Muslim Online Shopping Trends During the Month of Ramadan in Southeast Asia

13 June 2018 |

According to a research by JWT, young Muslim women in Southeast Asia are coming of age at a time of societal flux. The report stated that while they are more devout than their predecessors, they are also professionally ambitious and more cosmopolitan in their outlook. More than just women, this is evident in Muslim men as well.

This hugely influences the way Muslim consumers shop on significant occasions such as Ramadan and the Aidilfitri celebrations. Just a few weeks into Ramadan, online shopping consumption increased greatly during the fasting month. This was evident as iPrice, a price aggregator platform for hundreds of online merchants in Southeast Asia experienced double-digits growth in online sessions. In a bid to understand Muslim online consumers during this period, we conducted a study and found the following insights:

Online Shopping Begins at the Wee Hours of the Morning

During Ramadan, fasting is observed from dawn to sunset. As such, many Muslims awake in the wee hours of the morning for Sahur (pre-dawn meal) and are more likely to shop online as well. Analysis on consumer behaviour indicated that online traffic at 5:00am increased by 105% in Malaysia & 345% in Indonesia when compared to the same time prior Ramadan. The increase significantly higher in Indonesia as the country has the largest Muslim population in the world. This is a continuous trend as seen in our study last year in both Malaysia & Indonesia.

In Malaysia, the increase in online traffic was much higher when compared to our research last year, where we only saw a 90% increase in online traffic at 5:00am. Indicating an increased interest in online products this year as compared to 2017.

Evident in both countries was that online traffic during Ramadan was significantly higher when compared to the previous period. Overall online traffic was 11% higher in Malaysia & 30 percent higher in Indonesia. In addition to this, online traffic in both countries experienced a dip in online traffic at 7:00pm in Malaysia & 6:00pm in Indonesia as many prepare to break-fast (Iftar). Online traffic decreased 9% in Malaysia & 4% decrease in Indonesia at these periods. After Terawih prayers online traffic in both countries would resume, reaching its peak at 10:00pm.

Search Trends for Fashion Products During Ramadan

Fashion products are among the most sought-after items during Ramadan Muslims prepare for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations. Using Google Trends, we saw that keywords such as “Baju Raya” & "Baju Raya 2018” was among the most popular keywords associated with “Raya” (which is closely associated with the Aidilfitri celebrations).

Local brands have been actively showcasing their 2018 Raya collection & deals through various advertising, social media, & marketing campaigns. In Malaysia, the three most searched local fashion eCommerce brands during Ramadan were Naelofar Hijab, Fashion Valet & Muslimah Clothing. Towards the end of May 2018, Naelofar Hijab launched the “Shine On” collection which is their #naelofaraya2018 campaign. At this same period, Naelofar Hijab garnered a high volume of search interest between 23 - 30 May 2018 indicating a successful campaign that caught the attention of many Malaysians.

Close in fourth place was Siti Khadijah which garnered a high volume of search interest from Malaysians as well. Siti Khadijah specialises in prayer outfits specifically for women known as telekung. As such, the high level of interest for the eCommerce was no coincidence because many women are dedicating their time to pray during Ramadan.

In Indonesia, there was high search volume for “gamis” which is a long dress worn by Muslim women along with keywords such as “hijab” & “baju muslim”. These keywords indicate that many Indonesians were looking for inspiration or sources for clothing suitable for their religion activities during the month of Ramadan. In addition to this, there was a high level of interest for “Baju Koko”, which is a fashionable traditional top for men most popularly worn during the Aidilfitri celebrations.

Other Unique Search Trends Prior Aidilfitri

Utilising Google Trends, there is also a high search interest for airline ticket promotions in Malaysia & Indonesia before Ramadan. This is in line with local trends since many will be travelling back to their hometown prior Aidilfitri celebrations. Search interest for airline tickets began during the second half of May 2018 which takes place a month before the Aidilfitri celebrations on 15th of June. In Malaysia, the most popular keywords & brands associated with “promotion” were airline companies such as “Airasia”, ”Malindo Air” &”Malaysia Airlines”.

In Indonesia, inhabitants located in Sumatera, Kalimantan & Sulawesi were most interested in airline ticket promotions as compared to other states. This indicates that inhabitants in these regions were more likely to travel to the Java Islands or to other parts of the country for Aidilfitri.

Other than airline tickets, the second most popular keyword used in Malaysia were related to groceries & merchandise deals. During Ramadan, there is a high demand for Raya goods such as biscuits, traditional delicacies, & other food stuff. Since these items are usually available at major supermarkets & stores many Malaysians are on the lookout for promotions by major retailers in order to maximise their spending. The top brands associated with the keyword “promotion” were:

  • Aeon
  • Giant
  • Tesco
  • Aeon Big
  • Econsave
  • Mydin

Online Traffic to Drop Significantly During Aidilfitri Celebrations and is Expected to Grow Exponentially A Week After

During Hari Raya Aidilfitri, online traffic is expected to drop significantly as Muslims will be visiting family & friends during the special occasion. Based from 2017 data, online traffic decreased an average 12.5% during Hari Raya when compared to the previous month in the similar period.

In about seven days after the Aidilfitri celebrations, online stores are expected to see improved online traffic. Among the key reasons for the rise of interest in online shopping was because consumers would spend money obtained from the celebrations. During Aidilfitri, it is conventional for family, friends and employers to give monetary gifts also known as “Duit Raya”. In Malaysia, Indonesia & Singapore, “Duit Raya” may come in forms such as salary bonuses from employers or green packets given by relatives. Regardless of its form, online traffic data from 2016 & 2017 indicates that consumers would go online to spend their monetary gifts a week after Aidilfitri.

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This article was first published on ValueWalk

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