Tips For Retailers in Southeast Asia for This Year’s Ramadan

“Inflation and rising cost of living can affect retail sales this Ramadan but pockets of opportunities exist for marketers to capitalize on,” says Criteo.

Tips For Retailers in Southeast Asia for This Year’s Ramadan

“Inflation and rising cost of living can affect retail sales this Ramadan but pockets of opportunities exist for marketers to capitalize on,” says Criteo.

Drawing upon regional retail sales data from 2022’s Ramadan Criteo has released a new report offering brands advice on how to make the most of commerce opportunities during the upcoming Ramadan season amid inflation.

“Having just exited the pandemic this year, consumers are excited to resume their daily activities and go back to old ways of celebrating festivals with their families and friends,” said Criteo, adding that “inflation and the rising cost of living are impacting consumer behavior.”

According to Criteo, based on retail data from last year’s Ramadan, it was found that initial online sales in Southeast Asia saw a 19% increase in early April 2022 compared to the last two weeks of March 2022.


Sales figures continued rising during Ramadan until approximately one week before Eid across markets in the region:

  • Indonesia experienced the sharpest increase at 74% on April 20.
  • Indonesia saw increasing sales which began around March 23, indicating that Indonesians might have been shopping to prepare for Ramadan. Indonesia saw a spike of 68% a week before Eid and Malaysia had a 35% increase 6 days before Eid in retail sales.
  • Malaysia witnessed two peaks on 4 April (Double Day sale) and 22 April respectively.

Singapore consumers continued with their usual shopping habits, suggesting that their retail habits remained largely unchanged even during Ramadan.

Apparel & Accessories was the top-performing product category and saw a 30% increase in sales during Ramadan. Other product categories that performed well were Health & Beauty, Home & Garden, and Electronics which all saw an 18% increase in retail sales right before Eid.

Additionally, says Criteo, travel sales saw a general increase and peaked (+44%) 4 days before Eid celebrations. This might be expected as people want to gather with their family and friends for the celebration.


The month of Ramadan also saw a change in the patterns of online shopping, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia.

  • Online sales at night saw a general positive trend that starts from 19:00 (Indonesia), 20:00 (Malaysia) and continued till the morning.
  • Online shopping before dawn 04:00 – 05:00 (Indonesia), 05:00 – 06:00 (Malaysia) saw the highest change during Ramadan as compared to the normal days’ performance (March 1 – 30).
  • Decreased sales events during iftar (breaking of fast) 18:00 – 19:00 (Indonesia), more than regular days (No Ramadan)
  • 12:00 – 13:00 in both countries stands out as an anomaly with the highest number of sales during the day. Consumers were shopping more as they were fasting during the lunch hour.

“With inflation being at the forefront of the mind of consumers coupled with the change in consumer behaviour during Ramadan, it is vital for marketers to rethink their advertising strategies in order to maximise their outreach across various platforms,” said Taranjeet Singh, Criteo’s Managing Director for South APAC.

“Last year’s data revealed a change in the patterns of online shopping during Ramadan, with an increase in online sales at night and before dawn. Marketers should take note of these trends and ensure that their advertising strategies are tailored to the specific times when consumers are most active online.”

Increasing consumer traction

Moving into Ramadan 2023, it is vital that brands understand the psyche of the shoppers to improve traction during the coming Ramadan and Eid period.

Criteo has released three tips for retailers for Ramadan 2023:

  • Rise of commerce media – Commerce media is being positioned as the 4th wave of digital advertising and has the power to reach and engage consumers where they’re actively browsing and buying. According to Criteo’s Rise of Savvy Shopper Study, 71% of global shoppers are spending more time online to search for the best offers and values before making a purchase. As shoppable moments can happen in nearly any environment, emerging environments such as retail media will continue gaining traction in 2023. Savvy retailers know that they will need to continue expanding their media offerings to own their end-to-end customer journey, and marketers will keep investing in retail media because it works.
  • Understanding the optimal timings – Shoppers are still finding ways to buy what they love, regardless of inflation. Consumers are spending more on non-negotiables like mortgages or food and developed more forward-thinking mindset that accelerate some purchases, such as buying essential items in bulk to get more value for their money. At the same time, a majority are still purchasing the goods and experiences they want most. 74% of consumers globally say they’re spending the same or more on personal care/health and beauty products, followed by apparel and accessories (65%), consumer electronics (63%). Marketers should take note of the change in the pattern of online shopping during Ramadan, especially the vital hours where sales generally increase to tap into the spending habits of consumers.
  • Incorporating quality and loyalty programs – Despite saving money being top of mind, consumers believe that deals should not come at the expense of quality.91% of global consumers chose product quality as the biggest factor influencing purchase decisions, ahead of free shipping (90%) and discounts and coupons (84%). They also value the alignment with brand values such as eco-friendliness and loyalty programs. Marketers can tap on this by ensuring that their products are top-notch and creating loyalty programs that motivate consumers to continue purchasing from them.

Featured image by Porapak Apichodilok

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