Online shopping keeps growing in Saudi Arabia during the holy month, even among less traditionally online-savvy categories like food and beauty.
Google partnered with Kantar to study Saudi consumers' shopping habits during the holy month.
The research observed key behaviors across five different product categories — consumer electronics, home and garden, fashion, food and groceries, and beauty — with a special focus on the four weeks of Ramadan.
Google Search and YouTube are the top touchpoints consumers in Saudi use to research products during Ramadan
When it comes to product research ahead of the holy month, almost 100% of shoppers in Saudi Arabia agree that they seek information via online touchpoints. Google Search comes out on top, with 74% of shoppers in Saudi using it to research product information across categories.
Online video also gets a lot of traction during the holy month. YouTube became the top-used video app in Saudi Arabia during Ramadan last year, with the highest number of active users at 18.1 million. This is an increase of 190,000 users from the year before. And 52% of Saudi shoppers say they turn to YouTube specifically to research product information across categories.
Consumers in Saudi also love the platform’s content beyond using it for research. Over 11 million people streamed YouTube on their TV in Saudi Arabia last year. And the video platform reached more than 20 million people over the age of 18 in the kingdom last year too.
Shoppers in Saudi display three distinct buying behaviors during Ramadan
Online shopping keeps growing in Saudi Arabia during the holy month, even among less traditionally online-savvy categories like food and beauty. However, 78% of consumer electronics customers in Saudi say they shop both online and offline for products during Ramadan, and aren’t picky about which channel they use.
Consumers in Saudi Arabia are, however, more particular about the reasons why they shop for certain things:
1. Different product categories have different purchasing triggers. A top trigger for buying something during Ramadan is wanting something new or up-to-date. 41% of consumers in Saudi Arabia state this as the main reason for buying home and garden products, and 39% for purchasing consumer electronics.
However, 43% of beauty buyers say the main reason they shop during Ramadan is for personal reward, with 36% prioritizing sustainability and whether a brand avoids harmful ingredients.
30% of fashion buyers, meanwhile, want brands to respect diversity and inclusion and, as for food and groceries, 39% of shoppers in Saudi are enticed by promotions.
2. Consumers want a hassle-free Ramadan shopping experience. Around two-thirds of consumers in Saudi Arabia experience online shopping issues during the holy month, with key pain points relating to the online experience.
For example, 25% of consumer electronics shoppers and 23% of beauty shoppers say that independent product reviews are hard to find. In parallel, 20% of consumers buying consumer electronics and 21% of people purchasing products in the home and garden category experience online registration or log-in issues.
As for offline shopping, 63% of consumers experience a pain point specifically when buying food and groceries. Limited time to research products, not being able to access online information from inside the store, and unavailability of products were the main issues.
3. Shoppers will consider switching for brands that are faster and less expensive. 84% of shoppers in Saudi say they typically buy from only one or a few retailers during Ramadan, but an inconvenient shopping experience can change that.
For example, 42% of consumers in the kingdom say they will try a new brand, retailer, or platform if a product ships from there faster. Meanwhile 36% will do the same if an item is available elsewhere first, and 33% if a product is less expensive.
This study was first published on Think with Google.