Revealed: Money habits of UAE residents during Ramadan

Over half (53 per cent) of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt will spend more money during the Holy month, of which 93 per cent expect to increase their spend specifically on regular household items such as food, drinks and groceries, according to a report by YouGov, a market research company.

The initial outputs from the Ramadan Consumer Behaviour study, which will continue to run throughout Ramadan and Eid to capture the changing habits of consumers across a number of different product groups, found that the increase in expenditure will come predominantly from an increase in the consumption of food and drink.

Due to the perishability of these items, consumers are likely to buy them regularly rather than in bulk and therefore price offs (43 per cent) and discounts (35 per cent) are the most appealing promotions for 78% of consumers in all three countries. Offers related to bulk purchases have higher appeal for personal care and household care products.

Almost two-thirds (59 per cent) of consumers in Egypt expect to spend more overall during the Holy month, followed by 56 per cent of consumers in Saudi Arabia and 46% in the UAE. Most consumers in all three countries (68 per cent) expect to cover the extra cost using their regular income, whilst 29 per cent will dig into their savings.

The top products consumers intend to increase their consumption of during Ramadan are dates (73 per cent), laban (62 per cent), yogurt (61 per cent) and powdered soft drinks, squashes and cordials (all 53 per cent respectively).

Given the attraction of promotions/offers during Ramadan, the findings show that consumers are less likely to be brand loyal when it comes to food and drink products. 40 per cent of respondents overall claim they will always buy from brands that have the best offer/promotion irrespective of who makes them.

Marginally, fewer will stay loyal to a select set of brands and only buy from those that have the best offer/ promotion among them (38 per cent). 22 per cent will always stay brand loyal whether there are offers and promotions or not.

The research also looked at consumers’ intended travel plans during Ramadan and Eid in 2016. When asked if they expect to travel during Ramadan, 72 per cent of respondents claimed they don’t have any travel plans at all, predominantly because they prefer to spend the Holy month in their country of residence (63 per cent).

Respondents in Egypt (69 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (66 per cent) claimed they prefer to stay in their home country the most, compared to the UAE (52 per cent). The second highest proportion of respondents in all three countries claimed they won’t be travelling because they have work commitments (17 per cent). This was most prevalent in the UAE (23 per cent), compared to 16 per cent of respondents in Egypt and 12 per cent in Saudi Arabia.

Despite low levels of travel during Ramadan, 43 per cent of respondents in all three countries expect to travel during Eid this year. Of those that are travelling, 56 per cent intend to travel within their home country compared to 30 per cent who intend to travel aboard. The most appealing promotions for travelers during Eid are discounted promotional offers on flights (62 per cent), followed by discounts on hotel stays (57 per cent).