Foreign e-commerce – online shopping from international retailers – rises in the UAE during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, according to the Ramadan and Eid Study by Meta Platforms, previously known as Facebook, and market research firm YouGov.
Retail purchases account for 67 per cent of the rise.
The report surveyed more than 18,000 adults between May 13 and June 3 last year after Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, and interviewed 1,500 shoppers across 12 countries, including the UAE.
Fifty-five per cent of those surveyed indicated they were more likely to shop online from international retailers during the Holy Month, especially if brands marketed their products with the season in mind.
The report said as consumers “reflect, rejuvenate and celebrate” during Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, they seek “empowering and authentic” brands that make them feel represented.
The spike in foreign e-commerce accompanies the gifting and shopping traditions of the Holy Month and consumers’ openness to explore and discover new products, according to the report.
“Gifting and shopping is a big part of the Ramadan moment. The change in everyday habits leaves shoppers more open than usual to discovering new brands and products,” said Fares Akkad, regional director of Meta’s Middle East and North Africa division.
“This creates a unique opportunity for businesses to reach cross-border shoppers looking to discover products they’ll love.”
Although gift shopping starts well ahead of the Holy Month, last-minute purchases are common. The survey revealed that more than 83 per cent of last-minute shoppers made serendipitous discoveries.
This was partially thanks to the reliance on influencers. Twenty-seven per cent of those surveyed said they relied on content creators to discover new brands.
Seeing product information in their native language was also prioritised by 62 per cent of shoppers.
These motivations accompany UAE consumers’ traditional reasons for shopping abroad, including seeking products of higher quality, products unavailable locally and better-priced products.