The surge of consumer spending in Ramadan 2023: insights for marketers in SEA 2024

Explore how the significant increase in consumer spending during Ramadan 2023 in Southeast Asia offers valuable lessons for marketers in 2024.

The surge of consumer spending in Ramadan 2023: insights for marketers in SEA 2024

For marketers in Southeast Asia, the Ramadan season emerges as a pivotal period, particularly in predominantly Muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, where retail sales see a significant rise. A report by Criteo, a digital advertising tool, highlights a near 50% boost in retail sales across the region in 2023, underscoring the economic vitality of this time.

Taranjeet Singh, Criteo's managing director for enterprise, APAC, emphasizes the need for marketers to adapt their strategies to effectively reach their target audience during this period.

He notes, "Given the varied economic landscape in SEA and heightened demand during Ramadan, it is necessary for marketers to revamp their strategies to effectively reach their audience," underscoring the significance of understanding regional shopping habits and trends to tailor advertising efforts accordingly.

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2023 Ramadan sales in SEA

During the first half of Ramadan 2023, sales soared by up to 47% across SEA, with Malaysia leading with a 40% increase, followed by Indonesia and Singapore with 30% and 16% increases, respectively. This period also saw a notable year-on-year growth in retail sales by 8% in 2023, showcasing the evolving spending patterns across different countries.

Categories such as religious and ceremonial items, apparel and accessories, food and beverages, and health and beauty products witnessed significant sales boosts, along with a 21% increase in online bookings for travel around Eid.

Report recommendations

Criteo advises on the importance of leveraging first-party data and tapping into unified retail media platforms to enhance consumer engagement and experience. The company's report, "The Great Defrag: how commerce media will unite advertising in 2024", highlights the positive impact of retail media on the bottom line for agencies, brands, and retailers alike, showcasing the growing potential for upper-funnel brand awareness and offsite campaign opportunities through product embeddings on publisher webpages​​.

Effective utilization of SKU data and creating a seamless shopping experience are emphasized as essential strategies for fostering customer loyalty and driving sales.

Furthermore, the rising trend of Muslim cruise-travelling presents an additional opportunity for marketers. With the Muslim demographic emerging as one of the fastest-growing segments in the cruise market, tailoring services to meet their needs, such as offering halal food and prayer facilities, can tap into this expanding customer base.

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Insights for Ramadan 2024

To capitalize on the Ramadan holiday, marketers should focus on data-driven strategies that resonate with the diverse and dynamic consumer base in SEA. Utilizing insights from previous Ramadan sales data and current economic indicators can help tailor marketing campaigns that are both relevant and timely.

Retail media platforms offer a unified solution for managing and measuring advertising efforts, providing marketers with the tools to streamline their campaigns and maximize ROI. Investing in technologies that facilitate the activation of first-party data in scalable and consumer-friendly ways will be crucial for success during Ramadan and beyond.

In light of these insights, marketers preparing for Ramadan 2024 should consider the following strategies to capitalize on the holiday's lucrative opportunities:

  1. Personalization and targeted campaigns: Utilizing SKU data to unlock insights into customer preferences and behavior, enabling the creation of personalized marketing efforts.
  2. Integrated commerce experience: Emphasizing a seamless shopping experience that merges online and offline realms, catering to the evolving consumer expectations.
  3. Special attention to Muslim cruise-travelling: With the Muslim demographic emerging as a fast-growing segment in the cruise market, there's an opportunity to cater specifically to this audience with services like halal food options and prayer facilities, as suggested by Mastercard and CrescentRating's Muslim-Friendly Cruise Report 2024​​.

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