Reports > Ramadan Report: A Survey of Mobile Internet User Behavior in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

Ramadan Report: A Survey of Mobile Internet User Behavior in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore

2016 - 07 - 19


On June 6, 2016, Muslims across the world entered the month of Ramadan, an extremely important time for followers of Islam. Especially in countries that are majority Muslim, Ramadan customs also impact daily life and work. There are many Muslims living in Southeast Asia; according to the website, as of 2014, data show that Muslims make up 16% of the population in Singapore, 88% in Indonesia, and 60% in Malaysia. Cheetah Global Lab has leveraged big data from appinsight to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact Ramadan has on the mobile internet in these three countries.

Part 1: Performance of Muslim Apps During Ramadan

I. Penetration of Muslim Apps Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore: Malaysia Leads

Note: Penetration = the number of weekly active users (WAU) of Islamic App(s)/National WAU. Due to the fact that this graph has not factored out users who use more than one app, these values are higher than the corresponding market shares.

Among the three countries, although Indonesia is home to the largest proportion of Muslims compared to its overall population, appinsight data show that Malaysia’s Islamic app market penetration is higher.

II. Categories of Islamic Apps: Demand is Highest for Quran Studies, Prayer Time Reminders

1. Quran: According to Islamic beliefs, Ramadan is the month in which Allah gave mankind the Quran; therefore, the activity levels for Quran-related apps greatly increase during that time. Quran apps mainly include audio and translation aids used for studying the Quran.

A Quran App

2. Prayer Apps: Apps that provide reminders of prayer times and indicate the correct direction for prayer. Muslims must pray a number of times a day, and the first time is usually before sunrise. Due to the fact that the sun rises at a different time each day, the need for apps like this, which provide accurate reminders, is big.

A Prayer App

3. Multi-function Apps: All Muslim app functions integrated in a single app. Muslim Pro is a prime example of this category: it contains the entirety of the Arabic Quran, along with audio of it being read, as well as translations. It also contains a function for determining the correct direction to pray, the Islamic calendar, and maps showing the locations of halal restaurants and mosques.

Muslim Pro

II. Growth Rankings for Each Country: Ramadan Apps Experience Large-scale Growth

1. Indonesia

We derived growth rankings for Indonesian apps from May 30, before Ramadan began, to June 12, 2016. During this time, of the top 30 fastest-growing apps, 13 were Ramadan-related.

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

2. Malaysia

Although Muslims make up a smaller proportion of Malaysia’s population than Indonesia’s, Ramadan apps made up 13 of the top 30 apps before Ramadan began, and their growth all exceeded 30%, with the number-one ranked app below growing in size by almost ten times.

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

3. Singapore

In Singapore’s top 30 fastest-growing apps, seven are Ramadan apps, but they all grew more than 36%.

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

Part 2: Other App Categories Impacted by Ramadan

I. Rankings of Each App Category by Growth

1. Indonesia

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

2. Malaysia

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

3. Singapore

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

As Ramadan apps see strong growth, e-commerce apps also see surprising success

1. The Books & Reference and Lifestyle app categories, which include Quran apps and Muslim apps respectively, both saw growth over the period indicated. In the instance of Malaysia, for example, the ten apps that grew the most in the Books & Reference category were all Quran apps.

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

2. With apps from the personalization category, people can make their mobile phone backgrounds, lockscreens, and themes more religious and ceremonial.

3. Growth in e-commerce is in part due to promotional activities e-commerce companies have held during Ramadan, and in part due to preparations people have done for the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr.

For example, the e-commerce app Mataharimall provides free warranties for customers who have purchased certain goods (such as motorbikes and helmets) purchased during Ramadan . This measures greatly increased their number of users during the period.

Mataharimall’s penetration in Indonesia. Note: The y-axis represents Mataharimall’s WAU as a proportion of Indonesia’s overall WAU.

Another e-commerce app, Tokopedia, called on users to donate to charity through Tokopedia during Ramadan . Because the objective of fasting is for people to become more virtuous through hunger and meditation, Tokopedia’s growth reflects some of the meaning behind Ramadan.

Tokopedia’s penetration in the Indonesian market. Note: The y-axis represents Tokopedia’s WAU as a proportion of Indonesia’s overall WAU.

II. App Categories in Which Activity Levels Decreased

1.Indonesia: Business, Social, and Entertainment fell

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

2.Malaysia: Activity fell in Sports, Travel & Local, and Transportation

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

3.Singapore: Travel & Local, Health & Fitness, and Entertainment dropped

Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

Entertainment Decreased, Productivity Fell

1. The excitement from the UEFA Euro 2016 was difficult to maintain: sports apps’ activity and penetration levels fell the most in in Malaysia and Singapore. Although activity levels for some Euro 2016 themed apps rose rather quickly, and most sports apps in these countries are focused on soccer, the absolute activity levels show that the growth of these few apps was not sufficient to stop the overall activity level for sports apps from dropping.

One reason is that France, where the Euro 2016 was held, has a six-hour time difference with Malaysia and Singapore, and after fasting for an entire day it is difficult to maintain enough energy to watch soccer deep into the night. Another reason is that fasting emphasizes working harder to improve one’s soul, and the passion associated with soccer matches is not very compatible with the peaceful and quiet spirit associated with fasting. After watching half of a soccer match, it may be time to pray again. Therefore, the coinciding of Ramadan and the Euro 2016 was a rather large blow to sports apps.

2. Entertainment also fell: during Ramadan in the three aforementioned countries, entertainment apps, including music & audio, video, social, and communications, were all impacted to greater or lesser degrees, either experiencing negative growth or slowed growth trends.

3. Travel & local fell: desire to go out and travel fell during Ramadan, and the drop in activity levels in the weather apps category may also strengthen this hypothesis.

4. Education and business ground to a halt: although it is encouraged for people to maintain their original habits and normal work and studies during Ramadan, education, office, and productivity app activity levels could not avoid falling.

III. Games Categories

A bit unlike apps, most games experienced growth from the period before Ramadan to the period after it had begun. In the three countries analyzed here, the top five game categories all experienced similar growth in games market penetration.


Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016


Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016


Note: Time frame was 5/30/2016 to 6/12/2016

Running from reality into a virtual world

1.Simulation games and role playing games: in these, you can temporarily live a different life. Perhaps during Ramadan one cannot indulge too heavily in entertainment or eating, so users all tend to play simulation games, where they can play different roles and imagine they are living another life.

2.Growth in educational games seems a bit hard to understand, but a look at the top six educational games shows that growth was mainly in games involving cooking, baking, and anything else to do with eating; this trend has driven the growth in educational games.


The mobile internet has become an increasingly important part of people’s lives, and it has made life more convenient. At the same time, it also reflects the religious and cultural differences of different peoples: their customs and practices, interests and hobbies. In the future, Cheetah Global Lab will continue to analyze mobile internet trends and bring a deeper level of insight into them.

By Rosa Rong,Senior Analyst of Cheetah Global Lab

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