Ramadan reconstructed: Key consumer behaviour themes set to stick in Ramadan 2022, by Kantar’s Lina Abou El Azm

By Lina Abou El Azm, associate director, Kantar.

While Ramadan pre-pandemic was always about spirituality, bonding and festivity, Covid-19 deconstructed the very concept. Now, as we head towards Ramadan again, it’s time not to build it back to what it once was but rather to build it forwards, with a rekindled sense of the magnified blessings or ‘Baraka’ that drives all habits in the holy month and beyond.

The sharp, short-term adjustments to the context of Ramadan under Covid conditions led to multiple recalibrations. Strict lockdowns saw mosques closed, Mecca empty, and families unable to practice many social and spiritual rituals. This liberation from social pressure recoloured Ramadan 2021 as a month of reset and recalibration, of introspection, reflection, and appreciation. It resulted in socialising with mindfulness and intent, making more powerful choices with prudence over time, effort, money and connections. There’s also a renewed focus on the need to transcend beyond the material while building on resilience.

5 key themes will shape Ramadan 2022: Shining a light on the brand opportunity

1 Renewal and rejuvenation

There’s an inside-out renewal of celebration, bringing back a sense of optimism based on engaging in simple yet fun activities together, like gaming, watching TV and snacking. ‘Tablescaping’ is also set to trend in 2022 as the table takes its place as the centre stage, a place for creative expression, spreading joy throughout the household. It’s a case of rejuvenating the spirit in everything from the practical, like decorating houses, to gifting and the smaller details that put a smile on loved ones’ faces.

2 Intention and mindfulness

This trend is about heartfelt prayers, gratitude and simple good deeds. The prayers take on a cultural form as consumers become more appreciative, intent on simplicity in their good deeds as a manifestation of the moment’s mindfulness. It’s less about the lavish and more about humanitarian acts – going beyond boundaries to support charities digitally through apps, leaving water near walkways, and surprising neighbours in need with the month’s commodities. This extends to the type of media content that resonates most during Ramadan, beyond the slapstick humour to reflect the introspective mood and positive affirmation, with deeper, more meaningful content.

3 Holistic wellbeing

This tier in with making better use of the month’s blessings, both physically and mentally. The very definition of wellbeing is becoming more progressive, with enhanced awareness of Ramadan as a chance to evolve physically, mentally and spiritually. This is evident in mindfulness of portion sizes and variety, as we move from the lavish spreads of the past to include ingredients like oats in our baking and more vegetables than usual in our savouries, creating more nutritious dishes without compromising on the taste or enjoyment of the occasion. The idea of movement rather than watching TV on the couch for hours is also gaining momentum, with more time spent playing sports and walking outdoors.

4 Quality connections

The above themes all tie into the idea of investing more time and effort in what matters most, with reduced social demands resulting in more introspective bonding and socialisation during Ramadan. The focus is on building more meaningful memories and connections while creating personalised gifts and being more selective about iftar gatherings. This reflects the rising trend of expressing gratitude for quality rather than quantity of connections, maximising the ‘baraka’ of spending time with loved ones.

5 Prudence and value

This in turn results in making smarter choices when it comes to kitchen duties as well as spending and shopping, encouraged by-products and solutions that now deliver on ‘readiness’, helping consumers deliver delicious dishes with less effort. The brand craze has been replaced by one of brand scrutiny – value brands can succeed if priced right. Shopping habits have been reframed as it’s now about balancing functionality, image and avoiding waste. For consumers, it’s all about making smarter choices.

Lina Abou El Azm

Unfortunately, while consumers changed immensely under this context, most brands did not reflect these evolved dynamics in their Ramadan 2021 communications, instead of sticking with the overall themes of Ramadan: the gathering, iftar feasting, charity and helping others. Some included a weak link to the Covid context, but most missed the brand opportunity of making a bold connection to how consumers now think and behave. Remember to include strong brand roles, cues, uniqueness and differentiation because, without these, it’s difficult for consumers to link the advertising back to the brand. Their primary consideration today is: “Why this brand?”

Also, consider your media effectiveness. Most brands relied on just one or two channels for their Ramadan 2021 communication, missing the opportunity to use different platforms to perfectly reach their target audience and uplift that impact with the synergy effect through the art of integration. It’s a pity as huge investment goes into brands’ communications over Ramadan, yet few converted this into decent ROI, either in the short-term or the long-term. But the results are clear.

Our analysis found only 44% of the brands enjoyed higher communication recall after their Ramadan 2021 advertising. Only 24% of the brands succeeded in enhancing their affinity, while just 14% enhanced their usage by increasing their consumer base, with less than 10% of brands seeing uplift on both pillars of usage and affinity with better emotional connection and usage over Ramadan 2021.

So, get a head start on your Ramadan 2022 campaign success by addressing consumers’ needs at the evolved dimensions of Ramadan – mindfulness, intention, holistic wellbeing, and conscious choice. For truly impactful communication, the brand needs to be shown in a meaningful way, playing an integral part in the Ramadan context. Focus on the brand’s uniqueness and use online and offline media channels to boost reach and recall, while integrating content across platforms to magnify the impact.

Get in touch to learn how your Ramadan ad will fare against these golden rules with Link through Kantar Marketplace. Watch our Ramadan advertising webinar on-demand to ensure your brand’s communication plan is ready for Ramadan 2022: Ramadan communications and media learnings