Last year’s Ramadan celebration in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) was a hybrid one, featuring a mixed bag of in-person and digital traditions. Dining out and deliveries crossed over with cooking at home, and people shopped in-store while also adding items to cart on their mobile.
The four phases of Ramadan remain the same. But what people search for during those times has evolved as they continue to adapt to changing norms. Today’s consumers are more choice conscious, seeking out value for money, inspiration, ideas, and convenient payment options through search.
Shoppers start planning up to 8 weeks before celebrations
People love to plan their Ramadan celebration. Consumers find inspiration, check out their options, and build up different levels of excitement in the weeks leading up to the big moment. And online shopping features strongly before and during the holy month, with 35% of MENA consumers saying they prefer to shop online during Ramadan.
Shoppers still experience Ramadan in 4 phases, but searches have evolved
The four phases of Ramadan still stand. As in previous years, these phases take place before and during the holy month, as well as over the Eid celebration, with different shopping behaviours across each. But what consumers are searching for during each stage has changed.
The preparation phase
Ahead of the holy month the pressure is on to host in style. We saw a focus on getting homes — particularly kitchens — entertainment ready. During this phase search interest increased by:
- 50% for “cooking set”
- 25% for “air fryer”, “grocery store” and “electric oven”
- 160% for “Ramadan decoration”
During the preparation phase, people’s searches hone in on hosting guests, but with a stronger emphasis on kitchen appliances and home cooking.
The excitement phase
Consumers are making time to take care of themselves, with a rise in searches related to self-care. Searches for greeting cards and Ramadan offers are also high. During this phase search interest increased by:
- 35% for “moisturizer cream”
- 40% for “yoga mat”
- 180% for “Ramadan greeting card”
- 85% for “Ramadan offers”
In the excitement phase, shoppers are focused on getting ready, with me-time becoming a bigger priority. Celebrants also send well wishes to loved ones, and seek Ramadan offers.
Eid preparation phase
People love to plan ahead for one of MENA’s biggest celebrations, pivoting their attention to source the perfect outfit and find great offers. But there’s an interesting new trend at this stage: Shoppers seek more convenient payment options. In this phase search interest increased by:
As in previous years, shoppers still search for fashion and gifts in the Eid preparation phase, but — new trend alert — they seek more convenient payment options.
Connecting with family and friends is core to this special time’s celebrations. Relaxing beats at-home entertaining, so food delivery app downloads and active users rise. People also want to look their best as they spend more time with the people they love, so grooming searches increase. During this phase we saw a:
- 35% increase in food delivery app active users1
- 64% rise in downloads of food delivery apps2
- 45% increase in search interest for “grooming”
- 50% increase in search interest for “hairstyle”
In the final Eid phase, consumers turn to food delivery apps for convenience, a trend that we saw intensify last year. They also search for gifts and offers.
People plan up to eight weeks ahead of celebrations starting. The hybrid holy month’s four phases are still intact, but the types of searches evolve across each stage. Every phase offers brands a distinct opportunity to meet consumers while they’re searching. Interesting new trends include consumers seeking more convenient payment options, and a rise in the use of food delivery apps. Searches around self-care, and getting kitchens ready for cooking, also make an appearance.
Key takeaways for marketers:
- Be mindful. Planning your campaign based on Ramadan consumer behaviour, and what people are actively searching for, will keep you ahead of the game. Google Trends can help you find the ideal focus areas for specific times, while Performance Max complements your keyword-based search campaigns. The earlier you start, the more insights the latter can gather, and the better it will optimise during peak moments.
- Be relevant. Personalisation helps you ensure you’re talking to people, and not at them. Responsive Search Ads use automation to adapt ad content to more closely match what shoppers are on the hunt for, helping them find relevant products or services more easily.
- Be present. To efficiently expand online presence, your brand needs to be visible in moments that matter to consumers. Broad Match paired with Smart Bidding use automation to find new high-performing and emerging searches, which help you stand out during Ramadan.
- Be video savvy. Search interest increased for “ad” more than 13X on YouTube during last year’s holy month in MENA.3 And the three top-watched YouTube videos across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt were ads too.4 Consumers turn to videos for ideas, inspiration, deals, and recommendations during Ramadan, so it’s important to stay on top of the latest content trends and create video creative that converts.