Money habits of UAE residents during Ramadan

May 23, 2017 1:28 pm

According to Visa’s 2015 Ramadan and Eid Spend Report, Visa cardholders in the MENA region – including all debit, credit and prepaid cardholders – spent a total of $9.3 billion on their Visa cards during Ramadan in 2015. Out of this, approximately $2.9bn worth of card spend was recorded in the UAE alone  close to a third of the total spend logged in the MENA region.

These findings make it clear that Ramadan is a month of high consumer spending, but exactly how much of this is beyond the usual and what exactly are UAE residents splurging on?

To better understand the money habits and spending patterns of residents in the country, conducted a survey during Ramadan last year. And here are the results…

Are UAE residents spending more during Ramadan?

Based on’s 2016 survey results, this is definitely true. More than 51 per cent of the survey respondents admitted to spending more than usual during the Holy Month, while 78 per cent said they exceeded their monthly budget during Ramadan.

More than one-third of the respondents (34 percent) confessed to exceeding their regular monthly budget by AED1,000 to AED3,000, while 16 per cent overran their budget by more than AED3,000.

Groceries, hosting friends and family, eating out – biggest expenses during Ramadan

Iftar and Suhoor are an integral part of Ramadan. So it isn’t surprising that food, groceries, gatherings at home with friends and family, and elaborate Iftar and Suhoor feasts at restaurants and hotels make up the biggest chunk of UAE residents’ expenses during the Holy Month.

Roughly 35 percent of our survey respondents said they spend the most on buying food and groceries. Hosting Ramadan feasts at home for friends and family came second, with 23 per cent ranking it as their top spend category. Other major expense categories included eating out and purchasing gifts for family members and close friends.

Retailers are upping their ‘promotional’ game…

Various retailers in the UAE run promotions and offer discounts during Ramadan. These usually include everything from offers on household items at supermarkets, discounts at furniture stores and car dealerships, to Iftar buffet deals and travel offers.

Ask any UAE resident: “What’s the ideal time to buy a car in the UAE?” and you’ll most likely get a unanimous answer – Ramadan. Major car dealerships also rank Ramadan among the top sales months in the UAE.

Potential car buyers in the UAE are realising that Ramadan is a great time to buy a car and take advantage of the attractive discounts, extended warranty, free service, rewards and freebies on offer. Banks are also sweetening the deal by offering low or even zero per cent interest/profit rates on car finance during the Holy Month.


AMEinfo Staff
By AMEinfo Staff
AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.