Cultural sensitivity can help to increase profits, claims new research

muslim meal timeWith British Muslims celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr over the coming days, new research suggests brand owners may be missing out on the sales opportunities presented by this and other cultural events. According to an online poll of 1,000 UK adults by creative agency Haygarth, nearly 30% of Asian or British Asian respondents intend to go shopping for Eid and Ramadan, the month of fasting that precedes it.This amounts to 3% of all UK consumers, leading Haygarth to warn that the retail calendar is becoming increasingly complex because of changing demographics, cultural trends and marketing techniques.

It found another 3% of UK respondents intend to shop for the Jewish festival of Passover, 7% will do so to mark the Chinese New Year, and 2% (or 26% of Asian or British Asians) will go shopping for the Hindu festival of Diwali.

“Brands are missing out,” observes Anthony Donaldson, planning director at Haygarth. “Ramadan is a fasting occasion but it’s also a period when lots of food is consumed after the sun goes down … yet I don’t know any food brand that has thought creatively about how it might link with the occasion.

“Not surprisingly, the study found Christmas (83%) to be the most popular event among UK shoppers which reflects that Britain remains an overwhelmingly Christian country.

This was followed by Mother’s Day (54%), Easter (51%), Valentine’s Day (45%) and Father’s Day (44%) which are largely supported by above and below the line retail marketing and advertising.

However, less notable events also draw considerable interest, including Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day (43%), St George’s Day (11%), the celebration of England’s patron saint, St Patrick’s Day (10%), and Burns Night (6%), the celebration of the life and works of Scottish poet Robert Burns.St Andrew’s Day, recognising Scotland’s patron saint, will be marked by 4% while 3% will shop for St David’s Day, which celebrates the patron saint of Wales.Interestingly, the report also found the American imports of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to be making headway among UK consumers.

These dates are the first Friday and Monday immediately following Thanksgiving that many Americans regard as the start of the Christmas shopping season.

It seems a full 7% of UK shoppers plan to go shopping on one of these days, according to the report.

HarrodsIt comes as new research from national tourism agency VisitBritain has shown tourists from the Middle East are the top spending tourists in the UK, the Independent reported.

As visitors from the region arrive in the UK during Ramadan, VisitBritain found tourists from Kuwait and Qatar spend an average of £3,000 to £4,000 per visit and Middle Eastern holidaymakers are twice as likely to buy handbags and cosmetics.

It’s time that brand owners started to segment their desired customer segments in a more precise way in order to reap the benefits of driving incremental sales.



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