Adapting Online Ramadan Festivities to The Second Year of Pandemic: Digital Campaigns and E-Commerce

May 31, 2021

A year ago, it was evident that Ramadan festivities had gone online. This year, our findings suggest the Ramadan season has created a new space in the online realm. Not only did brands across all scales increasingly digitised their Ramadan campaigns, but consumers continued to seek online alternatives amid COVID-19 restrictions. As ‘mudik’ (English: homecoming) was once more prohibited nationwide,1 a majority of people redirected their homecoming spending towards online shopping at the comfort and safety of their domiciles.2 Having learned the ropes from the previous year, both brands and consumers were more nimble to making the second Ramadan season over the course of the pandemic as festive as possible, by maximising the capabilities of e-commerce.

Marketplaces’ unique insights at a glance

Following Eid Al-Fitr, numerous online marketplaces in Indonesia have reported a variety of growth trends from their Ramadan sales with distinctive metrics. For starters, throughout Shopee’s one-month Ramadan campaign called the “Big Ramadan Sale 2021”, the company recorded 130 million SME-owned products being sold on the platform.3 This suggests the  impactful call made by President Joko Widodo for platforms and consumers alike to champion local brands, considering the growth of SMEs’ performance as of late. In addition, Tokopedia reveals 100,000 different products were sold within 1 hour through the platform.4

Blibli also witnessed striking enthusiasm from their users, asserting that the usage of e-commerce has become more widespread across the nation. Blibli particularly noted heightened orders from rural locations such as Simeulue (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam), Sidenren Rappang (South Sulawesi), Yahukimo (Papua), and Kerinci (Jambi) during Ramadan.5 In the case of Lazada, a wave of new users entered their waters, resulting in a 100% increase compared to last year’s figure.6 Accordingly, 69% of Ramadan shoppers surveyed in Indonesia agree that Ramadan is a golden time to hunt for attractive offers, leading to 53% of the same Ramadan shoppers reporting to purchase more during the season.7

When zooming in on the most sought-after products by consumers during Ramadan 2021, a consistent lineup of top performing categories emerged. Across Tokopedia, Shopee, and Blibli, the Fashion category topped the charts 8 9 10, in line with the common practice of wearing new clothes for Eid which symbolises the embarking of new beginnings.

SIRCLO’s internal findings indicate that men are increasingly engaged in online shopping for the Fashion category. Aside from fashion, Personal Care, Health and Beauty were among the top performing categories, as reflected by multiple marketplaces’11 12 13 and supported by SIRCLO’s internal findings. All in all, the categories that consumers sought the most in e-commerce during 2020 and 2021 Ramadan have been fairly consistent. 

E-Commerce innovations to cater Ramadan spirituality 

The aforementioned marketplaces also focused on creating a rewarding experience for Muslim users through innovative featureson the platform. To ensure an end-to-end ‘purified' checkout, Shopee launched a dedicated directory called ‘Shopee Barokah’ for curated halal products that are guaranteed to be free of usury and payment installment.14 With a high sense of worship in mind, Tokopedia brought forward a worship ecosystem within their platform namely ‘Tokopedia Salam’, which consisted of the digital Holy Quran and ‘Jadwal Sholat’ (Prayer schedule) features.15

Apart from inward spirituality, Ramadan is never separated from the customs of outward acts of compassion, wherein Google’s findings indicate that donations and parcel-giving activities have gone online since last year’s Ramadan season.16 This appears to be a recurring phenomenon this year, as Shopee gathered Rp 1.12 Billion of zakat and donations17 while Tokopedia gathered Rp 13 Billion.18

Blibli discovered a notable increment in orders for gold and precious metal investments during Ramadan, up to twofold the increment in comparison to regular days.19 The ability of Super Apps to bring forth such services  demonstrates the ability of digital players to stay innovative in accommodating the demands of consumers, with the value of ease and comfort in mind.

Supercharging brand visibility during Ramadan and similar peak seasons 

Google discovered that consumers didn’t stop their Ramadan-related purchases at Eid; instead, they continued to search for products one to two weeks following it, meaning brands must remain visible even after the pinnacle of a festive season.20 Among many tactics, aligning the brand’s promotional strategies to the consumers’ behaviour changes within a festive season is one that can lift up the brand’s relevance and visibility in the eyes of the consumers.

Adopting this strategy, a Health & Wellness brand managed by SIRCLO Commerce created a promotional timeline to market products with the right momentum. During the first two weeks of Ramadan, the brand offered promotions for their herbal medicine products, as many consumers are notedly inclined to have gastric issues during their first two weeks of fasting. In the week of Eid, the promotions were mostly directed towards immune booster products, as consumers indicate a greater need to boost their immune system amid preparations for family gatherings. All in all, these strategies made the brand visible exactly at the right time where the consumers were looking for them, and consecutively recorded an incremental growth in Net Merchandise Value (NMV) by sevenfold compared to 2020.

With the same purpose of enhancing visibility, it is useful to integrate the brand’s digital marketing strategies to accomplish more with less effort. According to iPrice’s findings, mobile phones emerged as the most used device to shop online in Indonesia (93%) during Ramadan when compared to other devices.21 Brands may consistently use mobile platforms in capturing the consumers’ attention and seamlessly directing them to the brand’s online store without having to make them switch devices. One of the most advocated methods is maximising the brand’s presence on social media, which in the span of the past year has become the home to at least 61.8% of the nation’s population.22

Ultimately, all of the brand’s strategies will link consumers to the brand’s online store(s); website, marketplace official store, or chat commerce account. Like any physical store, the brand’s online store should stand out with eye-catching aesthetics on top of its effectiveness in showcasing products and branding. As an illustration, a brand’s marketplace official store typically includes the following customisable components: logo in avatar, brand description, banners, categories list, and store vouchers.

Simply putting different timely touches on the official store’s banners and categories list can ease the consumer’s overall shopping experience; be it to gather updated information or to better navigate towards the products they seek. Being mindful in putting these components together shouldn’t be undermined, as a brand’s online store(s) is the main touch point for transactions to happen after all.

Parting Words

Brands can make Ramadan or the following festive seasons a unique opportunity to elevate their brand visibility and attract consumers to keep returning on regular days. These momentums provide once-in-a-year opportunities, so it’s crucial to step on the gas with the right speed. By conducting the right market analysis, getting to know your consumers through data, working in synergy with e-commerce platforms and enablers, and ensuring seamless fulfilment of every order, your brand can conquer any seasonal peaks with big wins.

As an alternative, you can work with an end-to-end multichannel management partner that can conduct all of that with integrated resources and years of experience. Visit SIRCLO Commerce to find out more. 


SIRCLO neither provides regulated advice nor guarantee results. The materials we convey reflect general insight and best practice based on information currently available, and do not contain all of the information needed to determine a future course of action. Such information has not been generated or independently verified by SIRCLO and is inherently uncertain and subject to change. SIRCLO has no obligation to update these materials and makes no representation or warranty and expressly disclaims any liability with respect thereto.