Indexed traffic, sales pick up across SE Asia in 2nd Ramadan during pandemic

Photo by Tamal Mukhopadhyay

The second year in a row that Muslims observed Ramadan during the COVID-19 pandemic saw an uptick in indexed traffic and sales in Southeast Asia, according to Criteo.

Criteo identified these trends through the analysis of over 557 million retail shopping transactions across desktop, smartphones, and tablets from 116 major advertisers in Malaysia and Indonesia.

With Ramadan observed from April 12 to May 12 this year, retailers in Southeast Asia saw a surge on May 2 alone, with a 26% increase in traffic and 21% increase in sales compared to the last 14 days of March.

“With social distancing measures deterring gatherings in large groups, consumers are rethinking their buying patterns, regarding areas such as gift giving,” said Taranjeet Singh, Criteo managing director for Southeast Asia and India.

However, while the recent Ramadan season saw performance above its baseline, Criteo observed a notable dip in the final week of Ramadan. Sales and traffic dropped below the baseline, which may be indicative of consumer’s caution in spending amid the ongoing economic downturn.

Another distinct trend observed during Ramadan in previous years was a consistent rise in web traffic and sales for travel players. This was noticeably absent from this year’s data.

Criteo analysed survey data from 11,161 respondents across nine countries as well as organic data from 815 travel players who partner with Criteo in over 20 countries.

Criteo’s latest Travel Data for the first quarter of 2021 revealed that air travel is expected to improve more quickly in the Americas and Asia-Pacific than in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and with domestic flights recovering faster than international flights.

One year after the first outbreak of COVID-19, air bookings remain low at -36% in April 2021. However, this is a 12-point increase from -48% in January 2021.

Criteo’s data also found that travel players with a booking app have seen app usage grow especially in APAC, where app sales account for 77% of bookings, followed by mobile at 13% and desktop at 10%.

“For marketers and travel players, it is important to know that the priorities of travelers are two-fold – the ability to fully refund on bookings if travel plans are disrupted, and secondly, that social distancing and the highest levels of sanitation are ensured,” said Singh.

“According to our survey, travelers said that they are more likely to book travels if bookings are fully refundable and travelers reported the importance of social distancing and sanitation measures amid the ongoing pandemic,” he added.

Criteo suggests for marketers to strengthen their omni-channel strategy; develop meaningful promotions and ad messaging; and target the right audience or reconnect with consumers who have purchased in the past.