How progressive mindsets in the Middle East and North Africa are creating a "New-Age Ramadan."

JWT MENA is spotlighting today’s “New-Age Ramadan,” the direct result of progressive mindsets in the Middle East/North Africa region, in a new report. Enculturation has seen Ramadan gradually moving from being religious/traditional to more of a cultural festival, with the emergence of a typical commercial “Ramadan shopper.” The Islamic month of fasting is the busiest marketing time in the Muslim world, and consumer spending in the MENA region now amounts to more than half of spending during the remaining 11 months, a dramatic increase. Brands, therefore, must pay close attention to their relationship with Muslim consumers, a population that is estimated at 1.5 billion globally and growing at a rate of 1.8 percent.

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Socially inclusive in nature, Ramadan and fasting are seen as an opportunity to connect with not just family and friends but also people at large. This connecting revolves around the Iftar and Suhoor occasions, the two meals eaten after dusk and before dawn. Consumption rises across the world’s Muslim communities during Ramadan. For all its shift toward commercial enterprise, however, Ramadan remains a time to focus on self-improvement and spiritual gain for Muslims. From this point of view, during Ramadan consumers feel obligated to deal with brands associated with charitable activities and initiatives.

To find out more about how Ramadan traditions of yesteryear are evolving and how Muslims want to achieve their entertainment, community and spiritual goals during this holy month, see JWT MENA’s report on Slideshare here.