Dubai: With Ramadan approaching earlier in the calendar month of 2016, UAE residents are using mobile technology to prepare themselves at least one month in advance, according to research released by Facebook on Tuesday.

Facebook in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) survey has found out that smartphones have been able to create new ‘mobile moments’ that extend the Ramadan experience to 7 weeks beyond the traditional time frame of 4-5 weeks.

Jonathan Labin, head of Facebook Mena, said: “During Ramadan, people are most often found on their smartphone, posting and sharing images and videos that capture their experience; or looking to discover relevant Ramadan information that will help them get the most out of the holiday.”

“Our new learnings has also identified that the final phase of Eid provides a huge potential opportunity for brands, as consumers save some purchase decisions to the last minute,” he said.

Facebook Mena research shows there are three phases which consumers go through when planning for Ramadan:

Phase 1 – Discovery (2 weeks pre-Ramadan)

47% of people surveyed from the UAE begin planning their cooking options in the month before Ramadan. This also extends to fashion planning which also matters to people in the MENA region and starts well before the holiday.

65% of people surveyed in the UAE also agreed that people log on Facebook to show off their fashion styles during Ramadan.

Phase 2 – Mobile and Visual (4 weeks of Ramadan)

The explosion of mobile devices has created a new way for people to communicate based on photos, gifs, emojis and video.

83% of people surveyed in the UAE say they access the internet via a smartphone during Ramadan.

Phase 3 – Shopping decisions for Eid (1 week)

The final phase is all about last minute opportunities at Eid. People are looking for last-minute travel and technology deals.

53% of people surveyed in the UAE say they arrange Eid hotel getaways either on or after the first day of Eid

60% of people in UAE say they rely on Facebook for gift ideas