Indonesian online marketplace and e-commerce sites are set for their biggest sales period of the year as the Islamic holy month of Ramadan approaches, a Google executive said on Tuesday (23/05).
According to findings by the Indonesian Retailers Association (Aprindo), spending rates were 30 percent higher during the fasting month last year than during any other period, Google Indonesia’s e-commerce head Henky Prihatna said.
“The most important thing for us is how to make the most of the opportunities presented during Ramadan,” Henky said.
“Data is like the new oil because it allows us to understand and serve our customers more efficiently.”
Henky added that e-commerce portals can boost sales by revamping their websites to improve customer experience and accessibility in both desktop and mobile platforms.
He also said offering promotions on selected items will attract new customers who typically only shop online during Ramadan, and that strengthening cooperation with lenders to offer installment plans for large purchases will help boost sales growth.
Indonesians typically purchase clothing, household items and electronic devices during the fasting period, according to Google search inputs during last year’s Ramadan.
Though the tech giant does not disclose the total number of search inputs registered on its database for privacy reasons, Henky said searches for household items and electronic devices in the country nearly doubled during last year’s Ramadan.
He also said searches for installment plans increased 1.6 times and credit card promotion searches increased 1.2 times during the same period.
“This is a good opportunity for banks to offer free yearly charges, as well as for e-commerce platforms to strengthen ties with commercial banks in the country,” Henky said.
Blibli.com, a popular online marketplace, also reported an influx of sales for gadgets, clothes, food and women’s beauty products during Ramadan last year, the company’s vice president of marketing Ayu Fadjar said.
Ayu told reporters that Blibli.com expects web traffic on its site to increase fivefold during this year’s fasting month compared to the corresponding period last year.
“This year, we’ve revamped our [desktop] interface. We’ve used findings from consumer insights to revise and make improvements to our platform so we can be more competitive in the future,” she said.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, will begin Ramadan celebrations on Friday evening.
Interestingly, data suggests prices for staple foods usually increase during the fasting month due to increased demand.
“Consumption of staple foods such as rice, flour, sugar, milk, beef, chicken, eggs, oil and spices such as chili and onion during Ramadan are expected to increase,” said Sasmito Hadi Wibowo, a lecturer at Jakarta’s Trisakti University.
Sasmito, who was formerly the deputy head of distribution at the country’s statistics bureau, said most Indonesians feel obliged to spend more on particular food and clothing items and to give more to charity during the fasting month.
He said Ramadan is the biggest spending month of the year, in large part due to holiday wage bonuses awarded to most Indonesians.