Ramadan television series were the top Google searches in the Middle East during the holy month, but the trends show that Arabs are also starting to heed the avalanche of holiday ‘watch your weight’ warnings.
Data from Google Trends this year showed that in the major Middle East markets of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, people were searching online for healthy iftars and sohours - but not enough to boost those terms into the top queries lists.
Despite the uptick in searches for healthy alternatives, Egypt’s food entrepreneurs found the opposite in practice however; healthy food startups saw orders fall during the holy month while those catering to the busy and those with a sweet tooth had a nice boost.
Television was the clear winner though. In each country 11 (or more, in Egypt’s case) of the top search terms were for Ramadan TV series; however, the data indicated that just off the list of top search terms people were also looking for holy month promotions from supermarkets, and on cars.
The data did not measure the sharp rise in social media use as people had more time to post (and perhaps less energy during the day for work).
Over the last five years the trending questions about Ramadan were around food, timing, and some basics such as ‘what is Ramadan?’ and ‘what is the response to Ramadan kareem?’*.
The final lists are below, with the searched-for television shows highlighted in bold and their Arabic or English translation in brackets.
1. The Bamboo Gardener (Saq Al Bamboo)
2. Betrayal of Homeland (Kheyanat Watan)
3. Al Sadmah (The Shock)
4. Carrefour offers
5. Al Ostoura (The Legend)
7. Prayer recited upon completing the Quraan
8. Ramez Plays with Fire (Ramiz Biyelaab Bil Nar)
9. Father of the Pranks (Abu Maqaleb)
10. Shabab Bomb
11. Hani in the Jungle (Hani fil Adghal)
12. Laylat Al Qadr prayers
13. Noss Youm (Half Day)
14. Iftar buffets in Dubai
1. Shabab Bomb
2. Prayer recited upon completing the Quraan
4. Al Sadmah (The Shock)
5. The Legend (Al Ostoura)
8. Samarqind (Samarkand)
9. The Sheikh’s Alley (Harat Al Sheikh)
10. Ramiz Galal (Ramiz Plays With Fire)
11. Noss Youm (Half Day)
12. Laylat Al Qadr prayers
13. Bab Al Hara (The Door of Alley)
14. Jarir Bookstore Offers
NOTE: Saudi Arabia's list was only 14 items long.
1. The Legend (Al Ostoura)
2. Hani in the Jungle (Hani fil Adghal)
3. Father of the girls (Abu Banat)
4. The Caesar (Al Qaysar)
5. Ramadan Calendar 2016
6. Sad Rad
7. Superman’s Girls (Banat Superman)
8. Nelly and Sherihan
9. How to make Kunafa
10. The Promise (El Wa3d)
11. Younis, boy of silver (Younis Wild Fedda)
12. Al Sadmah (The Shock)
13. Ma’amoun and his partners (Ma’amoun Wa Shourakah)
15. Grand Hotel
* The response to Ramadan kareem (a happy or generous Ramadan), for those of you wondering, is most commonly: Alayna wa alaykom (for us and for you as well), but may vary from one country's dialect to another.