Ramadan Boosts Remittances and eCommerce Retail Sales Amid Inflation

The holy month of Ramadan, celebrated by close to 2 billion Muslims worldwide, kicks off Thursday (March 23). And according to the U.K. subsidiary of Ria Money Transfer, it’s going to be a busy month for remittance and international money transfers.

In fact, remittance transactions to friends and family members in other countries spiked more than 16% during the holiday season in 2022, in line with the upward trend witnessed in previous years, per Ria.

And this year is expected to be no different, particularly in the U.K. which is home to a large Muslim population — about 4 million or nearly 7% of the total, according to data from the Muslim Council of Britain.

In a statement emailed to PYMNTS, Jose Ivars-Lopez, Ria Money Transfer’s U.K. and Ireland Country Manager, said the significant British Muslim population makes Ramadan “a buzzing time of year for remittances,” not just in transaction volumes but also in value.

Ivars-Lopez added: “People are keen to send money to friends and family thousands of miles away as a means to participate in religious observations and celebrations.”

Retail Spending Jumps 33%

And it’s not just remittances. Consumer spending is also expected to surge during the festive period despite inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty across markets.

According to a study conducted by U.S. marketing research firm Toluna, per ME Retail News, there will be a 33% jump in consumer shopping intentions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during Ramadan this year as compared to last year, including in the cosmetics, grocery shopping, entertainment and travel sectors.

The poll also found that shopping in the fashion, toys and games categories is shifting online, with all survey participants planning to purchase these items online during the religious holiday period.

Presents given out to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the monthlong fasting period, are also expected to go up, with 39% of respondents saying they plan to spend more money on Eid gifts, while nearly 50% intend to make the occasion more special this year, which will be the first time in years it’s being celebrated without lockdown restrictions in most countries.

Brands like Carrefour are looking to cash in on the trend, and last month the UAE unit of the multinational retailer launched a Ramadan campaign offering discounts of up to 50% on thousands of products from international brands and its own private label.

“In line with our strategy to deliver exceptional value through every experience, we have worked diligently over the past six months to secure discounts on over 6,000 products by negotiating with our extensive supplier network,” Christophe Orcet, head of commercial and operations of Carrefour at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, said at the time, per ME Retail News.


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