Business during Ramadan in Qatar
In the days leading up to Ramadan, millions of Muslims across the globe have been physically, mentally and spiritually for this month of abstaining, giving and reconnecting with friends and family, both near and far.
With the first day of Ramadan expected to begin on May 16th (dependent on the sighting of the crescent moon), it is important to understand that Ramadan will have an impact on both business owners and expatriates living and working within Qatar. It is therefore imperative for companies and employers to be well informed on etiquette as well as potential opportunities and challenges during the month ahead.
For some businesses, Ramadan is anticipated to be a much busier month with retail sales peaking across most categories and in turn, some advertising spends reaching annual peak. For others, the month may be slightly slower for business with reduced working hours, particularly across the public sector.
Key considerations for the month of Ramadan
Business Working Hours
It is reported that the working hours during the holy month of Ramadan for ministries, government sector and public bodies and institutions are from 9am – 2pm. This was announced by Minister of Justice and Acting Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs H E Dr Hassan Lahdan Saqr Al Hassan Al Mohannadi, on May 10th, 2018. In addition, The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA) has advised companies to reduce working hours to six hours per day during the holy month of Ramadan, following the provisions of the Labor Law.
The Working Day and Considerations for Employers
It is advisable for employers to adopt a Ramadan policy to consider consuming food and drinks in communal areas in offices as well as to schedule meetings in the morning to ensure fasting colleagues can attend. It should be ensured that all employees are dressed conservatively throughout Ramadan.
Qatar Market Sales
During Ramadan, friends and family connect and celebrate, going out to eat and shop during the evenings. Therefore, this month is peak for retailers with sales increasing across many categories including food and drink, clothing and apparel, gifts, electronics and homeware. Almost all shops will have extended opening hours in the evenings and restaurants are expected to be busy. There is a trend for new retail companies to open ahead of Ramadan so that they can benefit from the height of consumerism in the region.
Company CSR Campaigns
Giving and charity is particularly important during Ramadan and therefore, many companies will launch specific CSR campaigns to support a variety of causes. This is a great opportunity to get involved and give back to the community.
Facebook research shows every day during Ramadan in MENA, people spend 1.92M incremental hours on Facebook with 86% of people in the Middle East celebrating Ramadan on the platform. This is a particularly important for companies to note for gifting and online shopping opportunities.
Mobile shopping significantly increases throughout the night with the usage of Facebook rising by 200% between 2am – 5am with 4.84% more conversions on mobile at 4am compared to non-Ramadan months.
Research shows social conversation around TV programs throughout the evenings, which offers marketing opportunities to tap into relevant cultural moments. Other areas of interest across social media channels are food, travel and fashion. It is therefore key for relevant businesses to plan their social media strategies to increase consideration and purchase intent.
This surge in media consumption online also opens doors for PR agencies as well as media agencies to win new business and further drive sales for clients across the month of Ramadan.
For further information on conducting business during Ramadan in Qatar, setting up a company in Qatar or any other queries, please contact us on +974 4478 8765 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information – What is Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr?
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic year and it is observed for one lunar month. Ramadan begins when a new moon is sighted by Islamic scholars, and therefore, cannot be precisely dated in advance. Ramadan marks a period of fasting from sunrise to sunset and religious focus for millions of Muslims across the globe. Generosity and giving to good causes or neighbours is encouraged and the period is a time for reflection, self-restraint and generosity. The end of Ramadan is followed by Eid Al Fitr, a two-day celebration which denotes the beginning of a new month, marked as a national holiday in Qatar and all other Islamic countries.