Ramadan is a time to connect with family, faith and friends and encourages people to be more social. This year, Ramadan is most likely to fall on May 27 – that’s less than two weeks away.
With a fast that is expected to last over 15 hours, residents have plenty to talk about how their days are going, and it seems they’re doing most of it online.
In a Facebook survey released on Sunday, it found that technology has also influenced the pre-Ramadan habits of the UAE’s 8.4 million users.
The data from Facebook IQ research also discovered that online usage is expected to peak at 3am during Ramadan among Middle East and North Africa’s (Mena) 152 million users.
Phase 1 – Discovery and Inspiration (4 weeks pre-Ramadan)
The pre-Ramadan phase is all about discovery, which is hugely important in a world where people are spending more time on mobile apps than browsers. Fashion is one area where people start planning early.
As many as 47 per cent of residents surveyed in the UAE begin planning their clothing purchases in the month before Ramadan. Clothing purchases are 1.63 times more likely to be planned than impulse buys.
Residents also talked about fashion seven times more on Instagram than on Facebook.
Phase 2 – Mobile and Visual (3-4 weeks of Ramadan)
The second phase is about connecting via mobile and visual. During Ramadan, residents are most often found surfing on their smartphones, posting and sharing images and videos.
Ramadan is a mobile-first month in the UAE, especially for young people, with people sharing Ramadan experiences via mobile, images and video.
The survey found that there are 4.84 times more mobile conversations in the Mena region during Ramadan than compared to other months of the year.
Watching television is among the most popular pastimes during Ramadan, as families gather together to watch specially commissioned shows. But the television is no longer the only screen people are viewing as 71 per cent of users in the UAE say they log on to Facebook while watching TV, with that number rising to 77 per cent for Instagram.
Phase 3 – Shopping decisions for Eid (1 week)
The final phase is all about last minute opportunities at Eid, as residents hunt for shopping deals and travel opportunities.
Up to 70 per cent of residents in the UAE say they rely on Facebook for gift ideas. Although shopping continues to happen throughout the day, 3am seems to be the time when Facebook peaks during Ramadan.