Ramadan 2022: State of E-Commerce in Southeast Asia

May 26, 2022

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Reunion is a constant theme, so is shopping during Ramadan, the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture. According to a survey conducted by Kantar, 51% of fasting respondents agreed Ramadan is the best time to find deals. 

Every year, Muslims around the world shop to their hearts’ content as they prepare for this joyous occasion. After all, it is “Sunnah” (Islamic tradition) to purchase new clothes, household appliances and food items in the weeks leading up to this festive period. For retailers that primarily cater to Muslim demographics, Ramadan is certainly one of the busiest and most lucrative seasons where they offer major savings across a variety of product categories. 

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So, how did Ramadan 2022 unfold in Southeast Asian countries with significant Muslim populations, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore? Were there any notable changes in consumer behavior now that most pandemic-associated restrictions have been lifted? Let’s find out!

Note: Ramadan 2022 took place from 2nd April to 1st May.

Parcel Volumes Grew by an Average of 21.2% One Month before Ramadan, with More People Starting Their Shopping Earlier than Ever

Ramadan 2021 was an impressive season with an average increase of 37.7% in parcel volumes across three countries – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. This was mainly attributable to the emergence of new platforms and stores like Kendai Sujimy and SoukAsia, which specialized in products targeted at Muslim demographics. Additionally, many consumers turned to alternative mediums such as Facebook live streams and “auctions”, such as the ones by Princess Fashion SG.

A lot has changed since then, for better or for worse. First and foremost, people seem to be starting their festive shopping way earlier than before. We noticed how parcel volumes in Southeast Asia (SEA) grew by an average of 23.8% from February to March 2022 but declined during the Ramadan month, with Singapore being an exception. To be more specific, parcel volumes decreased by 11.2% in Indonesia and 23.9% in Malaysia but rose by 4.62% in Singapore during Ramadan this year.

With lockdowns lifted and social distancing measures eased, 2022 might just be the closest we will ever get to the Ramadan celebrations of pre-COVID times. In Singapore, for instance, mosques are once again bustling and large traditional bazaars have returned, albeit with some limitations. Needless to say, there has also been a resurgence of physical retail, which allows consumers to shop in-stores as well as on e-commerce platforms. This could perhaps be the explanation behind the notable dip in parcel volumes during Ramadan 2022.

Average Transit Time across SEA Increased in the Month Leading Up to Ramadan

Based on our data, the average transit time for SEA parcels increased in March 2022; it went from 1.3 days to 1.56 days in Indonesia, and 1.36 days to 1.42 days in Malaysia. The trend continued throughout the Ramadan month, with transit time reaching 1.64 days in Indonesia and 1.71 days in Malaysia.

This is likely due to the surge in e-commerce activity during the pre-Ramadan period, coupled with shorter business hours and reduced commercial activities during the fasting month. Even with logistics service providers like Janio Asia adding manpower to compensate for the changes, there are still inevitable delays caused by “Ramadan traffic jams” which usually last from about 4pm to 7pm. 

Moving forward, retailers should be more mindful of the cut-off timings and carry out necessary arrangements while running their Ramadan campaigns to ensure orders would reach customers in time for the Eid celebrations. 

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