JAKARTA: Ramadan marks the biggest spending month of the year in Indonesia, with marketers hoping to boost sales as consumers, flush with annual wage bonuses, buy a range of items across categories.

According to figures from the Indonesian Retailers Association, cited in the Jakarta Globe, spending rates during last year's holy month were 30% higher than in any other.

"The most important thing for us is how to make the most of the opportunities presented during Ramadan," said Google Indonesia's e-commerce head Henky Prihatna.

For example, he reported that searches for household items and electronic devices in the country nearly doubled during last year's Ramadan.

Searches for instalment plans and credit card promotions also increased, by 1.6 times and 1.2 times respectively. "This is a good opportunity for banks to offer free yearly charges, as well as for e-commerce platforms to strengthen ties with commercial banks in the country," Henky said.

He added that promotions on selected items could attract new customers who typically only shopped online during Ramadan.

That echoed research from Exponential Interactive, reported in The Drum, which examined the online behaviour during Ramadan of people around the world, including Malaysia and Indonesia and found that volume-based promotions on food items were popular.

"Brands can seize this opportunity by bundling their items, for example, to maximise sales," it said.

Exponential also noted that there were potential opportunities in people's habit of giving more to charity during this month. "Brands with a social cause can engage in cause marketing and look to raise awareness for important causes," it suggested.

Of course, no such efforts are likely to succeed in the online environment unless websites deliver a good customer experience – something Henky stressed could boost sales.

Blibli.com, a popular Indonesian online marketplace, has revamped its site over the past year and now expects traffic to increase fivefold during this year's fasting month compared to the corresponding period last year.

Data sourced from Jakarta Globe, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff