Ramadan and mobile users: Global app installs, sessions, and spending surge
It's almost time for Ramadan, the holiest month for 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. It is a time of introspection, reflection, and sharing joy and spiritual enthusiasm with loved ones. Traditional community activities include prayer, charity, fasting, and breaking the daily fasts by sharing meals with family and friends. The festivities end with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the "Festival of Breaking the Fast," which begins on May 2 this year.
The way Ramadan is observed over the past two years has been reinvented as people have adapted to social distancing and new norms. Adjust data shows that during the holy month in 2021, the usage of mobile apps rose significantly when it came to festive shopping, gifting, connecting with spirituality, and social communication.
We’ve taken a closer look at the global trends for Ramadan in 2021 to help marketers and advertisers understand the users and patterns that have emerged, and how they can attract new users, boost engagement, and maximize ROI. We also highlight key verticals where the most growth is seen, including video streaming, shopping, food delivery, and health & fitness.
Entertainment is king
Entertainment apps saw a significant boost last Ramadan as people likely spent more time on video streaming platforms due to shorter working hours and Eid Holidays. Installs of streaming apps were 21% higher than the 2021 average, and sessions were up by 14%. Global installs and sessions also grew remarkably compared to the Ramadan period in 2020: installs of streaming apps surged 49% in 2021 year-on-year, and sessions saw a massive increase of 68%.
Games also saw a surge during Ramadan, with installs up 13% and sessions up 9% in 2021 compared to the year’s average.
Staying fit during Ramadan
Ramadan can be challenging when it comes to maintaining healthy habits, with more recreational time and all of the delicious Iftar meals and festive foods. However, since Ramadan is a time of evolving physically, mentally, and spiritually, many people also focus on exercise and healthy eating. During Ramadan last year, global installs of health and fitness apps were 18% higher than the yearly average. And sessions grew by 14%, indicating that people are spending more time working out at home, playing sports, or walking outdoors while fasting.
Ramadan shopping rush on mobile
E-commerce apps also performed exceptionally well during the 30-day Ramadan period last year, with revenue events increasing 19.4% compared to the average of 2021. However, shopping and browsing isn’t limited to just the first weeks of Ramadan. On May 5, just a week before Eid al-Fitr, revenue events peaked as observers bought last-minute presents. That's why the optimum time for marketers to engage with shoppers is just before Eid Al-Fitr, in the second half of Ramadan.
Global installs of shopping apps specifically saw an 11% hike compared to the 2021 average. Sessions were up 13%, showing that many people bought gifts and necessities for the festivities from the comfort of their homes. The year-over-year growth of shopping apps during Ramadan was also impressive. In 2021, shopping app downloads experienced an upturn of 18%, and sessions grew 33% compared to Ramadan 2020.
The data talks: Ramadan is all about food
Despite the fact that Ramadan is a fasting month, food consumption during the time of Iftar (breaking of the fast) and Suhoor (meal eaten before fasting) exceeds standard consumption patterns. But, because observers fast between sunrise and sunset, food and drink apps (including food delivery) take a hit; revenue events dropped 22% during this period in 2021 compared to the yearly average.
Still, Ramadan is an opportune time for food delivery and recipe apps to reach and engage with users. While the first two weeks are all about making festive delicacies at home, the last two weeks are about ordering in. In 2021, installs for recipe apps during the holy month were 15% higher than the 2021 average, and sessions were up 6%, demonstrating that consumers are looking for inspiration to manage cooking large meals at home.
Food delivery, which typically plummets during Ramadan, took a surprising upward trajectory as people sought to break their fast with meals from their favorite restaurants. Food delivery app installs grew 5% compared to the average of 2021. Interestingly, installs and sessions in the last week of Ramadan 2021 were 19% and 7% higher than in the first week, respectively. Compared to the Ramadan period in 2020, food delivery app installs climbed 18%, and sessions jumped 43%.
How can mobile marketers make the most of Ramadan?
In 2021, spending on gifts and groceries during Ramadan exceeded $38.5 trillion, surpassing the $35.6 trillion spent during non-festive periods. The Ramadan period remains the biggest spending window for consumers in specific markets and a time of significant growth for brands. Although Ramadan is a month-long season, its effects can be felt weeks earlier and last for months afterward. So, having a detailed approach to planning with distinct phases (before, during, and after) of Ramadan is essential. Additionally, many businesses have reduced hours in certain regions, so remember to adjust your ad spend around Iftar and Suhoor.
There are a few major windows of time to focus on for user engagement. Users will be most active right after Iftar or Suhoor. These are likely ideal times to send push notifications with personalized messages. For instance, food delivery apps can send a clear call to action to entice hungry users ending their fasts.
To understand how your users behave during Ramadan (such as the specific times of day at which engagement is highest) and which channels to work with to acquire the cohorts that offer the best ROI and LTV, measurement is key. To learn how Adjust can help you make sense of the user journey, see our attribution solution here.