Rahul Sachitanand
Mar 12, 2020

Here's how brands can tap the $2.2 trillion Ramadan opportunity

Brands need to be cognizant of nuances in this large and diverse population, according to a report from ADA.

Bangladeshi customers visit a market during the month of Ramadan and ahead of Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Dhaka.
Bangladeshi customers visit a market during the month of Ramadan and ahead of Eid al-Fitr celebrations in Dhaka.

There are 240 million Muslims in southeast Asia and 600 million in south Asia, representing a $2.2 trillion dollar market that brands would be foolish to ignore during and after their holy month of Ramadan. Across countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, brands often adopt a simplistic approach to targeting this massive opportunity, moving from subdued to celebratory between Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr festive period.

In fact, brands need to be a lot more nuanced with their approach, by identifying changes in consumer behaviour, emotions and needs, to best tap this opportunity, data analytics firm ADA contends. 

For instance, in this period, automotive brands need to be alive to the sharp uptick in purchases that are forecast between mid-April and May, as people hunt for deals in this time. Given the run-up available, marketers can now tailor campaigns to maximise business in this time.  


In contrast, electronics brands need to wait longer, until mid to late May for consumption to peak in their category, ADA data seems to suggest. 


The results from ADA's study show that travel to hometowns is common—but travel patterns may differ by country. As brands seek to tap this mass of travelers, they need to be mindful that people in Indonesia tend to travel back the month before Eid. Malaysia however, sees two spikes in travel: a week before Eid, and on the third week of Eid. In Bangladesh, travel out of the city peaks after the second week of the festive period.


As the Muslim festive season approaches, there are also noticeable differences in the way people manage their smartphones. For example, before Ramadan, there is a 327% increase in use of religious apps in Indonesia, but it drops sharply, by 96%, by the third week of the fasting month. There is a lesser increase of 82% in Malaysia just before Ramadan, which then drops 2% once the fasting month starts. However, it picks back up during the second week of Eid. Interestingly, in Bangladesh, the usage of religious apps drops throughout Ramadan but picks up closer to the festive period.

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