Saudi retailers set for Ramadan boost

Clothing stores receive a large boost during the month of Ramadan. (Getty)
Updated 23 May 2018
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Saudi retailers set for Ramadan boost

  • Some 66 percent of Saudi shoppers make either planned or impulsive purchases during Ramadan, according to YouGov poll.
  • Around half of all respondents were looking at specific brand offerings for mobile devices, cars, computers and laptops.

LONDON: Ramadan is set to provide a lift for Saudi retailers, with a survey showing that more than a third of consumers believe the holy month is the best time to go shopping and find bargains, according to YouGov.
The data identified 66 percent of KSA respondents to be “Ramadan shoppers” — those who make either planned or impulsive purchases during the period.
Almost 50 percent were said to have specific purchases in mind.
YouGov’s data also revealed that certain sectors were more popular than others, with slightly over half — 51 percent — looking at clothing.
Elsewhere, 45 percent were targeting grocery and fresh produce bargains, and 36 percent mobile phones.
The study suggested that brands matter when it comes to big ticket Ramadan purchases. Around half of all respondents were looking at specific brand offerings for mobile devices, cars, computers and laptops.
Retailers throughout the region are coming under increasing pressure as more shoppers migrate to online while economic uncertainty hits consumer spending.
Despite the growth in online retailing over recent years, YouGov’s research shows that relatively few (16 percent) plan to shop exclusively online during Ramadan. Instead, the majority plan to spend at least some of their shopping time in stores and malls.
Many customers learn about offers online, however. Around two in five find out about promotions via social media ads (42 percent) and internet ads (40 percent), while a quarter (24 percent) hear through promotional emails or text messages from companies and brands.
Kerry McLaren, YouGov director, said: “Ramadan represents an enormous opportunity — both for retailers and customers. By understanding the mindset of the Ramadan shopper, retailers and advertisers can reach them more effectively.”


OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

Updated 19 June 2018
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OPEC oil ministers gather to discuss production increase

  • Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day
  • The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday

VIENNA: The oil ministers of the OPEC cartel were gathering Tuesday to discuss this week whether to increase production of crude and help limit a rise in global energy prices.
The officials were arriving in Vienna ahead of the official meeting Friday, when they will also confer with Russia, a non-OPEC country that since late 2016 has cooperated with the cartel to limit production.
Analysts expect the group to discuss an increase in production of about 1 million barrels a day, ending the output cut agreed on in 2016.
The cut has since then pushed up the price of crude oil by about 50 percent. The US benchmark in May hit its highest level in three and half years, at $72.35 a barrel.
Upon arriving, the energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, Suhail Al Mazrouei, said: “It’s going to be hopefully a good meeting. We look forward to having this gathering with OPEC and non-OPEC.”
The 14 countries in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries make more money with higher prices, but are mindful of the fact that more expensive crude can encourage a shift to renewable resources and hurt demand.
“Consumers as well as businesses will be hoping that this week’s OPEC meeting succeeds in keeping a lid on prices, and in so doing calling a halt to a period which has seen a steady rise in fuel costs,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK
The rise in the cost of oil has been a key factor in driving up consumer price inflation in major economies like the US and Europe in recent months.
Already US President Donald Trump has called on OPEC to cut production, tweeting in April and again this month that “OPEC is at it again” by allowing oil prices to rise.
Within OPEC, an increase in output will not affect all countries equally. While Saudi Arabia, the cartel’s biggest producer, is seen to be open to a rise in production, other countries cannot afford to do so. Those include Iran and Venezuela, whose industries are stymied either by international sanctions or domestic turmoil. Iran is a fierce regional rival to Saudi Arabia, meaning the OPEC deal could also influence the geopolitics in the Middle East.