There were four key consumer habit shifts during last year’s most digital Ramadan, as people turned to the online world to seek a sense of togetherness. By analysing Google Trends, we have matched these consumer behaviour trends to seven Ramadan ‘personas’ — or audience segments.

Four of the personas are traditional: the foodie, spiritual faster, entertainment lover, and the shopper. The final three emerged due to new habits formed during the pandemic: the seeker of mental refuge, escapist, and progress seeker.

Get ready to meet the seven personas to help you understand, prepare, and engage with consumers this holy month.

The 4 traditional Ramadan personas — and what they want

Who is watching videos online and what matters most to them? We’ve captured the highlights below to give you a snapshot of the insights found within the report.

Rania: The foodie

Foodies in MENA contributed to a 125% year-on-year growth in food-related queries during Ramadan as they searched for culinary inspiration. This led to a 23% year-on-year increase in grocery delivery apps in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia in the first week of the holy month.

Top tip: Ensure your digital storefront is ready to welcome Rania and provide her with a great experience with tips and tricks on how to excel at cooking this Ramadan.

Soumaya: The spiritual faster

Soumaya embodied the spirit of Ramadan through prayer and charity. Searches for ‘religious app downloads’ increased 1860% year-on-year since the beginning of Ramadan 2020. Meanwhile ‘donations andcharitable giving’ reached an all-time high on Google Search and YouTube last year.

Top tip: Optimise your mobile presence to help Soumaya celebrate values she cherishes most.

Rami: The entertainment lover

Rami’s search results for entertainment increased significantly year-on-year as he consumed more digital content, including shows, gaming and podcasts. Platforms varied, as well, with a year-on-year increase in ‘entertainment app downloads’ by 37%.

Top tip: Build content strategies that allow Rami to engage with the brand, while tapping into new mediums in the world of music, podcasts, and gaming.

Karim: the Ramadan shopper

Karim was serious about shopping: he downloaded new e-commerce apps and his shopping queries were up by 30% in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and 45% in the UAE, during Ramadan 2020 vs Ramadan 2019.

Top tip: Shopping and gifting reached a peak during Eid. Create a tailored strategy for Eid — a ‘Ramadan’ of its own — that will appeal to Karim.

The 3 new Ramadan personas this year

Last year, Ramadan was different. Restrictions meant replacing large gatherings with smaller family meals at home and increased time spent online. This is likely to continue this year, with its own set of unique challenges. As the pandemic continues, these new personas are expected to tune into YouTube to learn, escape, or explore their spirituality.

Seif: The seeker of mental refuge

Seif is seeking to build a positive state of mind through home workouts, yoga, moments in nature, and self-care. Search interest for exercise across the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia rose 115% during Ramadan 2020 compared to Ramadan 2019.

Top tip: Tune into changing consumer needs and offer a relevant communication strategy, with creative assets and messaging that are sensitive to Seif’s personal challenges and wellbeing.

Nourah: The escapist

Nourah lost herself in arts and crafts, with a 50% search increase across the region in queries for Ramadan decorations to create a festive spirit at home. Nourah’s interest in gaming rose, with an increase in search queries of 106% year-on-year in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, focusing onmulti-player games.

Top tip: Consider advertising tools such as YouTube Mastheads on TV, as Nourah spends more and more of her time enjoying online video on the big screen.

Youmna: The progress seeker

Youmna is being the most productive version of herself bysetting up dedicated space to work and regain control in a dynamic environment. In fact, videos about Ramadan with روتين (translation: routine) in the title increased by 120% in MENA in Ramadan 2020 compared to the same period the year before.

Top tip: Market services that make it easier for Youmna to work from home and stay focused.

For more detail on each persona and key takeaways for marketers, enjoy the presentation below.