Marketing in Ramadan 2021: Customer Behavior Shifts

09 April 2021

Last year’s global lockdown created customer behavioral shifts and new digital habits for all of us. In 2021, we continue to adapt to a primarily online social life, and that also means a change in how we participate in and observe religious events and celebrations. 

Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, came amid last year’s lockdown. Though the vaccine is helping support a return to normalcy in many places, there are still many people turning to their religious communities online through digital sermons and communal prayers. 

Ramadan is known as a time of gratitude, giving, and reflection. It is also, according to Smartly, “one of the most important marketing periods for brands around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.” 

At e-Arabization, Ramadan is one of our busiest months for translation, localization, and content creation. In this article, we’ve searched the internet for the very best data for the holy month and put together a speedy guide to help marketers who want to make an impact over the Ramadan and Eid period.


Embrace the month of giving 

With 2.7 billion active members, Facebook is one of the most reliable sources for consumer insights, and they’ve turned their Ramadan data into a comprehensive marketing guide

We all know Ramadan as a month of generosity in thought, feeling, and action, and now this sentiment is backed by numbers, we’ve put together Facebook’s top insights for you: 

“Ramadan shoppers are three times more likely to feel safer shopping online.” 

The pandemic has increased consumers’ preference to research and make purchases online rather than visiting physical shops. If your products are available online, putting an extra emphasis on advertising during Ramadan can help your customers to shop easier and feel safer. 

“79% of Generation Z (18-24-year-olds) said they engage in a charity activity during Ramadan/Eid.” 

Observers of Ramadan actively seek opportunities to engage with community efforts and charitable causes they care about. Ramadan is an excellent time to express support for social initiatives that echo your brand mission. Another recommendation is to give people the opportunity to give back directly by donating a percentage of sales to a cause that means something to your business. 

Increased home time = increased screen time 

Ramadan focuses on family and togetherness in daily activities like mealtimes, prayer times, and gatherings. It is also a time of increased content consumption, with Smartly reporting that “there is an 85% increase in global mentions of ‘watching TV’ during Ramadan” alone. 

Creating video content for your social channels is one way to take advantage of an increased interest in easy to consume content. Still, conscientious attention to what your customers need should come first. Ask yourself how your products and services can make your customer’s life more manageable during Ramadan. How does your brand fit into the stories people share about the daily fast? How can you add value beyond the offering you provide?

The Ipsos Global Trends 2020 report revealed that last Ramadan, 97% of the people living in Saudi Arabia and Egypt hopped online to stay in touch with loved ones. The idea of connectedness is at the heart of Ramadan, so evolving content to focus on conversation, storytelling, and even education are all powerful ways to reconnect with customers in a meaningful way and showcase value that isn’t necessarily targeted at product promotion and purchase. 


Know your Ramadan audiences 

Think with Google provides a wealth of data for Middle Eastern organizations who want to serve their customers better, and one of our favorite recent resources is the 7 Ramadan customer personas that Google outline; they include: 

“Rania: The foodie 

Soumaya: The spiritual faster 

Rami: The entertainment lover

Karim: The Ramadan shopper 

Seif: The seeker of mental refuge

Nourah: The escapist 

Youmna: The progress seeker” 

Each persona has a unique content-finding mission during Ramadan and includes activities like; looking for recipes for Iftar meals, searching for charities to support, searching for self-care, or downloading religious apps. Learning how your customer adapts their behavior during Ramadan is the best way to serve them the products, services, and content they want. We recommend devising dedicated campaigns to sensitively address the unique personal objectives and challenges that people participating in Ramadan need help with. 


Digital-ready Ramadan 

Pandemic aside, the way that we celebrate religious and cultural events globally has changed. The advent of social media has turned experiences and practices that we used to share privately at home into community-creating events we can broadcast worldwide. There will always be a case for creating digital-first campaigns, especially for month-long events like Ramadan. Still, now we have more resources and data than ever to support us in creating meaningful brand experiences that enhance our customer interactions with us and help us to showcase what we stand for as businesses - beyond the exchange of products and services. 

When marketed respectfully, religious holidays can add tremendous year-long value to online businesses. Planning and ensuring you have the necessary time to curate content that’s timely and on-trend, and on-topic is a brilliant way to get closer to your customers. 

Have you got a Ramadan campaign in place? Or are you planning one for next year? Drop us a Marhaba if you need help localizing marketing for your local market.