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  • Writer's pictureJenny Hunt

Mastering Ramadan: A Guide for Doing Business in the UAE in 2024

13th February 2024

As the sun dips below the horizon, a hush descends upon the UAE, awaiting a canon to sound the end of the day. It's Ramadan, the holy month observed by Muslims worldwide, and the rhythm of business in the Emirates undergoes a subtle yet significant shift.


For those unfamiliar with the cultural nuances, navigating the commercial landscape during this sacred period can seem daunting. Rest assured, our comprehensive guide will illuminate the business environment in the UAE during Ramadan 2024, equipping you with the knowledge to not only survive, but thrive.


Add the UAE dates for Ramadan 2024 to your calendar

The month of Ramadan starts when the crescent moon is sighted in the UAE. This is the traditional way of deciding Islamic holidays, which all follow the lunar calendar. In 2024, Ramadan in the UAE is expected to commence on Monday 11th March. Ramadan usually lasts for 29 or 30 days. This year, Ramadan is expected to be 30 days, ending on Wednesday 10th April 2024.


Business Tip: Business during Ramadan across the GCC

Ramadan dates vary by country. If you do business across the GCC, don’t expect Ramadan to start consistently on the same day in each country. Check local news channels or portals in the respective countries, after sunset around 10-11th March 2024, to check if Ramadan has been called and officially started.


Changes during Ramadan

Throughout the month of Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and other indulgences from dawn until dusk. This naturally impacts working hours with businesses in the UAE adopting shorter working hours. UAE businesses are required by law to reduce every employee’s working hours by two hours per day. The reduced working hours are applicable to ALL employees, no matter their religion.


Adapting consumer behaviour during Ramadan

Ramadan is more than a religious holiday; it's a cultural experience. Understanding and adapting your business to its routines will positively position your company and make valuable connections in your community.

Understanding how consumer behaviour transforms during Ramadan will help your business to identify opportunities. However, respecting and demonstrating cultural sensitivity is essential.

  • Daytime shopping slows down.

  • Evening hours are busy.

  • Expect a surge in demand for food deliveries, especially traditional delicacies, and chocolates.

  • Pre-Ramadan promotions focus on: ‘Ready for Ramadan’, particularly home décor, clothing, gifts and food.

  • Businesses offer special Ramadan promotions.

  • Shops and businesses change their operating hours to the evenings and night, accommodating the shift in Ramadan routines.

  • Expect day-time meetings in offices rather than coffee shops, which are short and to-the-point; whilst late night meetings over coffee will likely be more ‘energetic’.

  • Hospitality is abundant, showing appreciation to stakeholders and celebrating with them at Iftars. Iftar is sunset meal when Muslims break their fast.

Ramadan Rush: Is it Wise to Set Up Your Business During the Holy Month?

Contrary to popular belief, establishing your business in the UAE during Ramadan need not be a challenge, especially if you are prepared to be patient, understanding, and flexible. Government services carry on and increasing digitalization ensures processes continue uninterrupted. In fact, setting up your company during Ramadan can offer unique advantages. Anecdotally, businesses try to complete administrative tasks before Ramadan starts; and some businesses choose to postpone their business setup until after Ramadan. This often results in shorter processing times, and the supportive spirit of Ramadan, for those companies which do choose to setup during the holy month.


Scan the QR code to whatsapp message Awais Chughtai Gateway Group GM about your business setup in the UAE during Ramadan 2024

Ramadan: A Gateway to Success:

At Gateway Group we understand the intricacies of doing business during Ramadan in the UAE. Our experienced team will manage your company registration progress, ensuring a seamless and stress-free experience. We are on hand to help you navigate the cultural nuances and advise you on sensitively adapting your business for the holy month.

Don't miss out on the Ramadan business boom! Contact Gateway Group and let's make your business setup happen, together.

Scan the QR code to send a Whatsapp message to Awais Chughtai, Gateway Group's GM, who is ready to help you.

Further Ramadan Reading:


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Written by Jenny Hunt

Founder, Gateway Group, Abu Dhabi & Dubai, United Arab Emirates

FORBES' Top 100 Most Influential Women in the Middle East

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