Traditional community activities surrounding the Holy Month have been reinvented in the past two years as people adjust social interactions and socializing to adhere to a post-pandemic world. Not to mention, pre-existing trends towards the digital-community interaction have accelerated across MENAT.
Platforms such as TikTok, with communities at their heart, have been successful in adapting to changing needs, proven by the exponential growth in user numbers and consumption indicators over the past couple of years during Ramadan.
In tandem, communities are at the heart of people’s Ramadan experiences, and there is an organic affinity towards connected communities, making community-led platforms a powerful tool for marketers. Ramadan has always seen an increase in people’s appetites for deals and promotions. And inter-connected online communities are increasingly becoming influential in the purchase decision-making process, and at the point of sale, as users turn to e-commerce to make purchases. This empowers marketers to engage with audiences at critical phases of the purchase journey with an ability to collapse the funnel.
RAMADAN IS THE MOST EXCITING TIME OF THE YEAR
People around the world wait patiently for Ramadan, to celebrate, to get together and to partake of sights, sounds, tastes and traditions that are unique to the holy month. People look forward to deepening connections with family, friends and the wider community.
Almost everyone IPSOS interviewed in this research() claimed to have accessed digital platforms daily to connect with the community, express their creativity, and consume relevant & authentic Ramadan content.
Shorter working hours combined with Eid holidays have enabled people to spend more time on social media and video streaming platforms during the holy month. It allows them to stay in touch with loved ones, form connections with the community, be entertained and shop at the comfort of their home.
Digital platforms now play a pivotal role during Ramadan by delivering authentic and relevant bite-sized content. Social media channels and video platforms are the key drivers of digital platforms usage.
|The research() found that people look forward to Ramadan and in anticipation of it 2 out of 3 people in MENAT plan for the holy month at least two weeks before it begins.
People do this by adjusting their diet, beginning to engage in community activities, making lifestyle adjustments and chalking out their wishlists.
Over 50% of people say they are excited about Ramadan and that it is their favourite time of the year.
RAMADAN IS ABOUT CONNECTING WITH THE COMMUNITY
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the cultural manifestations of Ramadan across MENAT markets over the past 3 years, and it is important for brands to reflect on this in their communication. Benevolence, a traditional Ramadan value is stressed more than ever. A sense of we are all in this together, or Universalism has grown in resonance over time.
|Need for Self-Direction manifests as a growing echo back from consumers, showing
an increase in engagement with creativity and curiosity reflecting on one’s goals and destiny, an ideal playground for brands on community-led platforms like TikTok.IPSOS’ AI-enabled analysis of consumer-generated social content across MENAT (comparing Ramadan 2019 to 2021) found that Benevolence, Universalism and Self-Direction are the most important cultural shifts.
As audiences become more benevolent, showcase wisdom, look for inner harmony, find creative ways to express themselves and connect with a like-minded community, they are turning to digital platforms to fulfil this need during the holy month of Ramadan.
COMMUNITY PLATFORMS LIKE TIKTOK ARE ENABLING CONNECTIONS TO FLOURISH
The research() also revealed that TikTok’s every day usage considerably increased during Ramadan (67% pre-Ramadan vs 71% during Ramadan). Since 2020, a considerable shift towards short-form video content consumption has occurred and TikTok is driving this change.
The most downloaded app in 2020 and 2021 based on App Annie
TikTok users are fully immersed in the platform as they watch, create and share content seamlessly in preparation for and during Ramadan.
9 in 10 access content on TikTok daily, 7 in 10 create original content and 6 in 10 share content on TikTok during Ramadan
The study() also revealed that TikTok is perceived as an entertaining platform that helps fill up spare time and lifts spirits during Ramadan. TikTok stands out as a platform for discovery, inspiration, learning something new and providing information about products and services.
Apart from this, it is also a go-to place for gifting ideas in time for Eid Al Fitr (which follows the Holy Month), entertaining videos, Iftar ideas, recipes, product reviews, sales & offers and fashion tips. Hence, the content on the platform supports occasion-based communication and influences purchase decisions via reviews and capturing audience attention with deals, offers and tips.
The TikTok community is clearly in a discovery mindset and the continuous flow of content that is built into TikTok’s For You Page makes it the ideal platform for discovery and inspiration for the community as 74% of TikTok users focus on community activities related to Ramadan.
With 89% of TikTok users coming to the platform for inspiration, brands have a chance to take part in related rituals or inspire new ones. The entertainment category grew by 1.7X on TikTok during Ramadan and there is clear opportunity for brands to engage with a community that is seeking joy & distraction.
Ramadan content has been flourishing on the TikTok platform with #Ramadan garnering 14.5 Billion views so far, followed by #RamadanMubarak delivering 2.6 billion views and Ramadan2021 delivering 1.6 Billion views. Apart from this, several other localised, community-specific #Hashtags and #Hashtag challenges have flourished on the platform.
|Not just that, IPSOS’ analysis of public social data also found that Ramadan content created on TikTok has found its way outside and seen exponential growth across other digital platforms. With trends starting on TikTok and being amplified across the wider digital landscape during Ramadan by users.
IPSOS’ analysis of public social data found that Ramadan related content on TikTok has found its
ways and flourished across other social and video platforms and the potential impressions of such content have grown from 60 million in 2019 Ramadan to 4.2 billion potential impressions in 2021 Ramadan, exemplifying the impact of TikTok across other social and video platforms.
CONNECTED COMMUNITY COMMERCE IS A NEW WAY OF SHOPPING DURING RAMADAN
85% of the people that IPSOS interviewed for this research() claimed to have shopped ahead of time in preparation for and during Ramadan. Being fully prepared for the Ramadan season, discovering attractive deals and promotions from the community and ensuring readiness to host guests for Iftar are the motivators for shopping.
The connected communities are at the centre of the e-commerce shopping ecosystem. As close to 2 in 3 members of this community showcase a very high dependence and increased frequency of online shopping apps during the holy month.
People flock to their online communities for Ramadan related tips, relevant content and shopping ideas.
Online platforms are also the key source of awareness for deals/promotions before and during
Ramadan, especially video streaming platforms increase by 1.2X times during Ramadan vs pre-Ramadan as a source.
People prepare for the season by stocking items, buying gifts for friends & families in time for EId Al Fitr, and in preparation for hosting guests. Hence, food and beverages, clothing/fashion and household products are the top purchased categories before and during Ramadan. The research also found that home appliances, mobiles & tablets gain popularity during Ramadan as people believe this is the best time to get good deals & promotions.
Audiences claimed to have shopped across an average of 4.6 categories during Ramadan while the communities on TikTok over-indexed as they purchased across an average of 5.5 categories and splurged over 1.66X times more on shopping compared to non-users.
All in all, digital native communities play a key role in delivering inspirational content, helping the members discover new ideas and experiences for Ramadan.
 – The research was conducted by IPSOS from April-May 2021 across UAE, KSA, Egypt and Turkey using online panel methodology. The research was conducted to cover the two phases i.e. pre and post Ramadan with a combined sample size of 4300 respondents across the four key markets. The research was sponsored by TikTok and covered topics such as the overview of the Ramadan festive season, progression of Ramadan and audiences engagement with digital platforms during this period.
 – Schwartz cultural dimensions : Cultural Shifts Ramadan 2019 to 2021 – UAE, KSA, Egypt and Turkey data sourced via IPSOS Synthesio, an AI enabled Consumer Intelligence platform from public social media sources including twitter, Instagram Facebook and YouTube. Data sourced covering the Ramadan period in each year and content. Schwartz cultural dimensions applied to Ramadan content and trends mapped year on year. Base 449,126 mentions
Benevolence: is nothing but a person’s intent to showcase helpfulness, honesty, forgiveness and friendship in actions and thoughts.
Universalism: is all about showcasing wisdom, rooting for social justice & equality, unity with nature and inner harmony
Self-direction: means enabling creativity, freedom of expression, independence, curiosity, and choosing one’s goals and destiny.
 – Potential Impressions: TikTok content amplification via other platforms – UAE, KSA, Egypt and Turkey data sourced via IPSOS Synthesio. Data sourced covering the potential impressions during the Ramadan period in each year and the content referencing TikTok. Base 310,935 mentions & 5.4 Billion potential impressions