Criteo findings also reveal that air travel is expected to improve more quickly in the Americas and Asia Pacific than in EMEA.

There was an uptick in indexed traffic and sales in Southeast Asia during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, this year and regional retailers saw a surge on 2 May, with a 26% increase in traffic and 21% increase in sales, respectively.

This is according to the latest research by Criteo around ecommerce trends observed during Ramadan this year, which took place from 12 April to 12 May. The second year in a row that Muslims are observing Ramadan under COVID-19 conditions.

However, while the recent Ramadan season saw performance above its baseline, there was an underperformance when compared to last year’s Ramadan period, said the data company that helps advertisers and marketers. A notable dip was also observed in the final week of the Ramadan period, with sales and traffic dropping below the baseline, which may be indicative of consumer’s caution in spending amid the ongoing economic downturn, the company said in a statement.

Mobile and App purchases continue to rise

The research revealed that mobile sales saw the largest lift throughout the Ramadan period this year, marking a 107% increase in sales at the end of the Ramadan period on 12 May. App sales also rose by 60%, earlier on 1 May. Meanwhile, desktop sales saw the smallest spike of 40% during the second week of Ramadan period.

Another distinct trend observed during Ramadan in previous years was a consistent rise in web traffic and sales for travel players. Before the COVID pandemic, prospective travelers usually searched travel websites during Ramadan, before making their bookings late in the month and after Ramadan, to make trips to celebrate Hari Raya with their family and friends. This was noticeably absent from this year’s data..

Travel plans and optimism continue to rise in Asia

Criteo said its Travel Data for Q1 2021 has revealed that air travel is expected to improve more quickly in the Americas and Asia Pacific than in EMEA, and with domestic flights recovering faster than international flights. 86%, 65% and 89% of respondents from Australia, South Korea, and Japan, respectively, say they are likely to make an online booking for domestic travel.

One year after the first outbreak of COVID-19, air bookings remain low at -36% in April 2021. However, this is a 12-point increase from -48% in January 2021. Criteo’s data also found that travel players with a booking app have seen app usage grow especially in APAC, where app sales account for 77% of bookings, followed by mobile at 13% and desktop at 10%.