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Ramadan 2021: Decoding shifting behaviour of Southeast Asian consumers

Team InMobi
2 min read
Posted on April 13, 2021

In this article, we share emerging insights on consumer behaviour that will define the 2021 Ramadan across Southeast Asia and what these trends mean for the marketing and advertising community in the region.

Observed by more than 240 million followers in Southeast Asia, Ramadan is a time of reflection, introspection, and connection. The holy month, which marks the period prior to Eid, is witness to bustling Ramadan bazaars, Iftar parties, Mudik travel, and much more. This month also presents a once-in-a-year opportunity for marketers and advertisers as they look forward to flexing their creative and analytical muscles to drive meaningful connections with their consumers.

Yet this Ramadan will be different from years past, and marketers must take the time to understand shifting consumer behaviour that will redefine their strategies this year. Through InMobi’s consumer intelligence solution, Pulse, we surveyed over 2000+ Indonesians and Malaysians in February 2021 to understand how they were planning to usher in the holy month. Here are our top finds:

Mobile emerges on top: 2 in 3 consumers plan to use their smartphones for shopping
While it may come as no surprise that the mobile-first markets of Malaysia and Indonesia will rely on smartphones to make purchases during Ramadan, it is the volume of shopping on these devices which will set this year apart. The scales will tip this year, with 2 in 3 survey respondents stating that they will primarily buy on mobile, over buying in stores, or on their desktops.

Planned purchases take a backseat, impulsive shopping will take the cake
While purchases during Ramadan tend to be highly planned affairs, it couldn’t be farther away from the truth this year. Last year only 33% of Indonesians had not finalized their shopping plans before the holy month. Yet in our recent survey, over a whopping 79% of respondents shared that they will not make any plans for purchases prior to Ramadan. Several respondents sharing that they saw a dip in their incomes in the past year due to the pandemic, price sensitivity, and the hunt for the right offers for the right products have made this a highly impulsive Ramadan.

Refocused priorities: It’s all about family this Ramadan
Ramadan has always been a period that focused on connecting with the community, this year will see a homecoming of the “family celebrations” this Ramadan. While traveling back to hometowns in 2020 was discouraged to curb the spread of COVID-19, 39% of Malaysian respondents are hopeful that they will be able to travel and reunite with their families in 2021. 41% of respondents stated their first purchase priority to shop for their family or extended family members.

How should brands respond this Ramadan?
Brands need to remember that despite a tough 2020, Southeast Asians are more excited than ever for Ramadan in 2021. The connected consumer is price conscious and unplanned and is extensively reliant on their smartphones to learn, explore and buy. Brands that will invest in building the right mobile-first experiences will win the Ramadan shopper.

Interested in discovering more insights? Download our report to learn more: Building Resilient Brands: Gearing up for Ramadan 2021

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