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Ramadan 2023: Research reveals how people in Saudi Arabia shop during the holy month

Ramadan 2023: Research reveals how people in Saudi Arabia shop during the holy month

Think With Google - Digital - Article


Can you believe Ramadan is already around the corner? We partnered with Kantar to help advertisers better understand consumers in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) — a key Middle Eastern market — during the holy month.

The research observed key shopping behaviours of consumers across five different product categories — consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, and beauty — with a special focus on the four weeks of Ramadan. Here’s what we found:

Google Search and YouTube are the top touchpoints consumers in Saudi use to research products during Ramadan

When it comes to product research ahead of the holy month, almost 100% of shoppers in Saudi Arabia agree that they seek information via online touchpoints. Google Search comes out on top, with 74% of shoppers in Saudi using it to research product information across categories.

Online video also gets a lot of traction during the holy month. YouTube became the top used video app in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan last year, with the highest number of active users at 18.1 million. This is an increase of 190K users from the year before. And 52% of Saudi shoppers say they turn to YouTube specifically to research product information across categories.

Consumers in Saudi also love the platform’s content beyond using it for research. Over 11 million people streamed YouTube on their TV in Saudi Arabia last year. And the video platform reached more than 20 million people over the age of 18 in the kingdom last year too.

Source: Google/Kantar, KSA, Smart Shopper 2022, All product buyers of consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, beauty, n=1567, April 2022–May 2022.



Marketing takeaway: Level-up your search and video advertising

- Use broad match keywords to expand on your generic terms and capture a wider range of customers to increase conversion opportunities on Google Search. Partner it with Smart Bidding to help boost performance. Not only will this help you understand people’s intent while they’re searching, it will also maximise reach in finding new queries, carving a user's path to your product.

- Get in front of more people during Ramadan with YouTube’s cost-per-hour masthead option. It offers brands a chance to take over the platform’s premium placement across devices with 100% share of voice at key times — think suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before a Muslim person’s daily fast begins, or just after iftar, the evening meal that breaks their fast.

Shoppers in Saudi display 3 distinct buying behaviours during Ramadan

Online shopping keeps growing in Saudi Arabia during the holy month, even among less traditionally online-savvy categories like food and beauty. However, 78% of consumer electronics customers in Saudi say they shop both online and offline for products during Ramadan, and aren’t picky about which channel they use.

Consumers in Saudi Arabia are, however, more particular about the reasons why they shop for certain things:

1. Different product categories have different purchasing triggers

A top trigger for buying something during Ramadan is wanting something new or up-to-date. Forty-one per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia state this as the main reason for buying home and garden products, and 39% for purchasing consumer electronics.

However, 43% of beauty buyers say the main reason they shop during Ramadan is for personal reward, with 36% prioritising sustainability and whether a brand avoids harmful ingredients.

Thirty per cent of fashion buyers, meanwhile, want brands to respect diversity and inclusion and, as for food and groceries, 39% of shoppers in Saudi are enticed by promotions.

Source: Google/Kantar, KSA, Smart Shopper 2022, All product buyers of consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, beauty, n=1567, April 2022–May 2022.




Marketing takeaway: Showcase selling points that people care about

- Shopping campaigns give people detailed information about what you’re selling, such as the sustainability of the product, before they even click your ad. This can help you more relevantly promote products and boost transactions. Using retail-centric reporting tools, you'll also be able to keep an eye on the performance of your products over time.

2. Consumers want a hassle-free Ramadan shopping experience

Around two-thirds of consumers in Saudi Arabia experience online shopping issues during the holy month, with key pain points relating to the online experience. For example, 25% of consumer electronics shoppers and 23% of beauty shoppers say that independent product reviews are hard to find. In parallel, 20% of consumers buying consumer electronics and 21% of people purchasing products in the home and garden category experience online registration or log-in issues.

As for offline shopping, 63% of consumers experience a pain point specifically when buying food and groceries. Limited time to research products, not being able to access online information from inside the store, and unavailability of products were the main issues.

Marketing takeaway: Provide easy access to information to smooth out the shopping journey

- Create an optimised online experience — especially on mobile — by improving site speed, ensuring navigation and purchase touchpoints are seamless, and providing a personalised experience. For offline, ensure product information is easily available online and accessible from inside the store, with regular updates keeping customers informed of stock availability.

3. Shoppers will consider switching for brands that are faster and less expensive

Eighty-four per cent of shoppers in Saudi say they typically buy from only one or a few retailers during Ramadan, but an inconvenient shopping experience can change that.

For example, 42% of consumers in the kingdom say they will try a new brand, retailer, or platform if a product ships from there faster. Meanwhile 36% will do the same if an item is available elsewhere first, and 33% if a product is less expensive.

Source: Google/Kantar, KSA, Smart Shopper 2022, All product buyers of consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, beauty, n=1567, April 2022–May 2022.



Marketing takeaway: Keep customers loyal by capturing them where they are

- Remind people of the benefits and convenience of buying from your brand through a remarketing or retargeting campaign on video and display. This type of campaign allows you to design customised ads for customers who have visited your site before, tailoring them to that audience as they browse online and use your apps. Preempt pain points in your creative highlighting, for example, speedy delivery, new stock, and discounts.



Visit our Ramadan Inspiration collection and be inspired by Ramadan marketing success stories from across the Middle East and North Africa.

This article belongs to: Dina Alsamhan, Asli Gucuyener
Published: January 2023
Link to Article: Think With Google


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