Brands neglecting Muslim shoppers

28 June 2010

LONDON: Most brands are failing to meet the needs of Muslim consumers, and are thus missing out on a substantial amount of revenue, it has been claimed.

Goods and services specifically for this demographic, and which conform to the principles of Islamic Law, are worth some $2tr (€1.6tr; £1.3tr) annually.

It is estimated that there are currently 1.57 billion Muslim shoppers globally, with this audience likely to make up 30% of the population across all markets by 2025.

Mohamed El-Fatatry, the founder of Muxlim, a social network targeted at Muslims, argued that its membership included many "futurists".

These young consumers are often both brand aware and exhibit high levels of loyalty, but reaching them requires more than launching offerings which fit in with Sharia law.

"The financial crisis has accelerated the need for finding new markets, but brands can't simply chase the Islamic pound without genuinely understanding what Muslim consumers want," said El-Fatatry.

Nestlé is one example of a multinational that has tapped in to the potential of this segment, and now generates considerable turnover from halal products as a result.

According to Nestlé's research, halal foods make up 16% of all food sales worldwide, and the Swiss firm is seeking to expand its range in this area going forward.

Khalid Sharif, founder of halal food company Ummah Foods, said the 1.8 million Muslims living in the UK would constitute an attractive audience in Europe.

"The UK community is so well connected to the rest of the Muslim world," he said, adding that a brand gaining ground in this market could soon acquire a multinational presence.

Data sourced from Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff