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Navigating business opportunities during Ramadan

Successfully engaging during Ramadan comes down to cultural understanding and sensitivity

Ramadan business opportunities iftar Kairi Aun/Alamy
Two men sitting down for communal charity iftar in Deira, Dubai

Understanding the cultural significance of Ramadan, and embracing its spirit, can pave the way for success, growth and deeper connections with customers and employees. 

It is critical for businesses to understand that the foundation of successful engagement during Ramadan is in cultural understanding and sensitivity. 

Almost all companies in the UAE reduce working hours to honour the holy month.

So, it is essential that businesses adjust operations and strategies to align with the rhythms of the period. 

Most companies gear up weeks in advance. Marketing and operations strategies are devised and altered ahead of time to meet customers’ needs. Consumer behaviour also changes in Ramadan as the month brings about a significant shift in consumer spending. 

Businesses can use unique Ramadan opportunities, catering to market needs to drive sales. Crafting marketing campaigns that resonate with the themes of Ramadan can significantly boost customer engagement. 

Engage in acts of philanthropy

Ramadan is a month synonymous with generosity and giving, which has a profound influence on consumer behaviour.

A fundamental aspect of Islam, the act of giving charity, or zakat, takes on a greater meaning, highlighting its significance within Muslim faith.

The heightened emphasis on charitable acts pushes businesses to seek out opportunities to engage in philanthropic endeavours, or to contribute a portion of their sales to charitable causes. 

As a business owner, the opportunities exist for integrating your corporate social responsibility initiatives such as charitable donations, special Ramadan discounts, or social media campaigns into marketing and overall business strategy can create a compelling narrative that attracts socially conscious consumers and appeal to a wide spectrum of your audience.

For example, the Ifza freezone recently launched a Ramadan offer for UAE businesses offering them a residence visa for life with every new business licence package.

Aside from helping businesses, Ifza also runs social drives during Ramadan, where the company gives out Iftar boxes as part of its “Joy of Giving” campaign. 

Introduce new products

Entrepreneurs and businesses in general can use the opportunities Ramadan offers to launch new products, as consumers are more receptive and open to supporting new local businesses.

In the Middle East, 78 percent of respondents to a survey by TGM Research expressed interest in the opportunities to explore new brands during their Ramadan shopping. 

Depending on the nature of the business, small businesses can introduce special edition products or services and tap into unique offerings that cater to the needs and preferences of customers. This could range from Ramadan-themed merchandise to curated gift sets and experiences. 

A survey by Google found that e-commerce sales increased by 61 percent during Ramadan in 2023. This translates into a great opportunity for businesses to enhance their online presence and increase engagement. 

Strengthen ties through networking

Iftars and suhoors contribute to an increased sense of community as social gatherings increase. This also gives the perfect opportunity to network with stakeholders and showcase products and services.

These events provide excellent networking opportunities and allow businesses to connect with potential customers on a personal level.

Creators and influencers give another level of credibility to businesses. Influencers and public figures, amassing huge followings, greatly influence buying decisions.

Brands, especially small businesses, must therefore prioritise collaborations and engage with other businesses to amplify the reach of their services and products during Ramadan. 

Entrepreneurs can form partnerships with local charities for fundraising initiatives, collaborate with popular social media personalities for promotional campaigns, or join forces with complementary businesses for joint offerings.

Ramadan presents a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the UAE. By understanding the cultural significance of the month, identifying market needs, and tailoring strategies, businesses can find success. 

Launching Ramadan-inspired products, engaging in community events, and embracing digital platforms are effective ways to connect with customers and drive business growth.

With careful preparation and in a spirit of innovation, organisations can make the most of Ramadan and create lasting impacts on their businesses.

Adam Taylor is director of marketing at Ifza freezone, Dubai

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