Ramadan worth £200 million to the UK’s economy

The Great British Ramadan study by Islamic marketing consultancy, Ogilvy Noor, has shown that Muslims observing Ramadan are increasingly being targeted by brands and supermarkets in the UK, which has led to a rise in spending on food and gifts during the month. The worth of the Ramadan economy to the UK is estimated at £200 million.

Shelina Janmohamed, Vice President of Ogilvy Noor and author of Generation M: Young Muslims Changing the World, says, “We conservatively estimate this to be upwards of £200m each year, covering everything from financial planning to food, eating out, clothes, toys and gifting. Following only Christmas and Easter in scale and size, this is surely Britain’s biggest untapped business opportunity”.

Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Morrisons, as well as MAC cosmetics, the Body Shop, and Godiva, are among brands who are marketing products especially for Eid, and Europe’s largest shopping centre, Westfield London, is hosting its first Eid festival in June. The study indicates that more than three-quarters of British Muslims want this trend to increase among British retailers.

The report says, “Muslims feel that Ramadan and Eid are ignored … They see the nation proudly gravitate towards cultural and religious holidays such as Chinese New Year and Diwali. They are saying it’s also time to embrace Ramadan and Eid”.

The report also found that “Almost two-thirds of Muslims plan financially for Ramadan and Eid, the study found. More than half are concerned about their concentration during the month-long daylight fast and two-thirds worry about dehydration. Young men in particular are concerned about maintaining fitness and some gyms in areas with big Muslim populations adjust opening times to allow exercise between iftar, the sunset meal that breaks the fast, and sunhoor, the pre-dawn meal … The majority of British Muslims eat a range of food over the two meals, with chicken and chips a favourite for 18-to-24 year olds. Despite the long hour of fasting, four in 10 married women say putting on weight during Ramadan is a worry. Gift-giving, buying new clothes, eating out and family gatherings are key features of the Eid holiday”.

Ramadan also sees charitable donations increase, particularly among 25 to 34 year olds, with donations to Muslim charities through JustGiving increasing by almost 500% over Ramadan in 2017.

The State of the Global Islamic Economy report estimates the global Islamic economy will be worth more than £3 trillion by 2021 and that it is growing at nearly double the rate of the general worldwide economy.

Eid is not an officially recognised holiday in the UK.

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Sherwood, H. (2018) ‘Fun, fashion and halal lipstick: retailers cash in on £200m Ramadan economy’. [online] 29 April. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/29/ramadan-eid-fun-fashion-halal-lipstick-retailers-economy. [Accessed 10 May 2018].