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Southeast Asian Muslims are shopping earlier during Ramadan, report says

Written by Ursula Florene Published on   2 mins read

With most countries still banning large gatherings, Muslims are heading online to search for new clothes ahead of Eid al-Fitr.

As the sacred month of Ramadan is nearing its end, Muslims around the world are preparing to welcome Eid al-Fitr. They usually head to clothing and grocery stores to buy what they need for Raya celebrations. But this year, the shopping tradition has been moved online, and people are shopping earlier than usual, according to a recent report from e-commerce aggregator iPrice.

In Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, people started browsing items on e-commerce platforms as early as 2:oo a.m. and engagement reached its peak around 10:00 a.m. to noon. During Ramadan, when Muslims are fasting, they have to wake up early to prepare for suhoor before sunrise. Afterward, while some might be able to fall back asleep, others choose to stay awake until they start working. Browsing e-commerce platforms is one of the ways they spend their time.

The Indonesian government and police are strictly forbidding large gatherings, even for religious activities, citing that all activities that could cause crowding can be classified as criminal acts. Singapore has also reinstated tighter COVID-19 restrictions as cases rose again last week. The situation in Malaysia is similar to its neighboring countries. Shopping on e-commerce sites has become the safest option for Muslims in these countries as they prepare for Raya celebrations.

Furthermore, the report finds that health and beauty, fashion, food and drink, along with home and living products, were among the most sought-after items during this period. In Singapore, iPrice saw the demand for perfume and supplements soar, with an average increase in searches of 6,078% and 2,090% compared to last Ramadan. In Malaysia, skincare (8,140%), perfume (6,183%), Malay clothes (4,241%), and even sofas (1,262%) saw huge search spikes.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, saw a jump in searches for religious clothing compared to the same period last year. Kaftan (8,773%) and gamis (2,813%), types of long robes often worn by Muslim women, along with rok Muslimah (long skirts; 1,532%), and sarong (1,850%), a tubular fabric often wrapped around the waist by Muslim men, each experienced a surge in queries.

More than half of the searches were conducted through mobile phones, especially in Indonesia, where the rate reached 93%. The report also noted that consumers were likely to search more thoroughly for products and the best deals before making a purchase for their religious activities during Ramadan or Raya celebrations.

The data was analyzed by comparing the impressions from various e-commerce platforms during the Ramadan period this year, April 12 to 26, with the Ramadan period last year, April 23 to May 7.

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