From foodstuffs to garments and electronics to automobiles, businesses are luring customers with discount signs which are filling up store windows across the Sultanate of Oman.
After a gap of two years, the fasting month of Ramadhan, which is a period for prayers, reflection and family get-togethers, is also becoming a bountiful time for shoppers looking for lower prices.
As a result, this period of the year becomes one of the most important marketing occasions for different brands as consumer behaviour changes both online and offline.
Even though the celebration this year is a mixed bag of in-person and digital traditions, people are excited about shopping in-store while also adding items to the cart on their mobiles.
This will be the third socially distanced Ramadhan in the Sultanate of Oman compared to the previous two, although the authorities have restored normalcy across all sectors, with daily Covid-19 cases registering a sharp decline over the past weeks.
Allowing families and friends to celebrate in full force, big and small retailers are enticing customers with discounts on all Ramadhan must-haves.
Retail stores are displaying flashing red sale signs on their windows, offering between 25 per cent and 50 per cent on some commodities, even up to 75 per cent discounts.
Some hypermarket groups have even adopted door-to-door campaigns with leaflets and flashing messages on social media platforms.
“While mostly it is food and grocery items that sell out fast, we also see a surge in the sale of kitchen equipment such as pans and cooking utensils”, said Hemant Shah, a salesman at a leading hypermarket.
However, what worries many people are the prices of some commodities that have seen a rise in the recent weeks following the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Consumer Protection Authority (CPA) has taken all possible measures to ensure that suppliers and retailers do not increase prices of products and commodities that are currently available in the market and have been affected by the increase in oil prices.
Supermarkets and hypermarkets are offering customers Ramadhan specials, such as ‘buy one, get one free’ and bulk discounts on many food and beverage items. Furniture stores are also taking advantage of the high sales period and offering discounts as high as 50 per cent on their items.
Leading retail brand LuLu has launched a “Ramadhan Souq”, a traditional Omani style market, which will have special offerings from dates, honey and other grocery items to household and decoration products, home appliances and furnishings with a wide range of curtains and carpets.
International hypermarket chain Carrefour has also ‘save more’ promotion on a number of select items enabling their customers to celebrate the period. The Group has bulk offers on several essentials.
Hotels and restaurants are also not behind. Many of them have special culinary offerings that include iftar, suhoor, traditional live music and activities amidst a special ambience.
Ramadhan offers are available across many product ranges in the automobile industry with free registration, free insurance, assured gifts vouchers, periodic vehicle maintenance, etc.
At the same time, consumers are increasingly turning to online channels to stock up on essentials as well as gifts for their family and friends.
According to a report by consultancy RedSeer, consumers in the Middle East and North Africa region are expected to spend about $6.2 billion on online purchases during the holy month of Ramadhan as their digital activity continues to grow across multiple channels.
Amazon.ae announced last week that customers in the Sultanate of Oman could shop a wide range of items through its International Shopping Experience, with a selection spanning over 30 product categories, including electronics, books, kitchen, fashion, home appliances and more, while enjoying low prices and fast delivery options.
“Available in Arabic and English, the International Shopping experience on Amazon.ae offers a customised user experience for shoppers in Oman, with a selection tailored to them”, it said in a press note.