Marketing to Muslim consumers: the opportunities and challenges facing brands
While some marketers have been talking to Muslim consumers successfully for decades, there’s been little by way of an established body of knowledge on Muslims as a global consumer group. Much success has come as the result of the shots in the dark and failures have often been publicised and politicised unfairly, but the fact remains that there is much to be learnt from both kinds of experience that can help marketers today.
There is no doubt that it can be a sensitive segment to approach. But if approached with sufficient knowledge of and empathy for Muslim consumers themselves and the values they hold closest to them, we believe that the potential rewards more than justify the risks.
There is a new Muslim consumer today, a young consumer who is the future of Muslim consumption. Muslim countries are some of the youngest in the world. There are more than 780 million Muslims under the age of 25, representing 43% of the global Muslim population and more than 11% of world population. These young Muslims are coming of age in a hugely different world to the generation even immediately before them, and their beliefs concerns and expectations are unique to their life experience. They share commonalities across geographies, pointing to an adherence to Islam that is, perhaps for the first time, genuinely global in its worldview. While core religious values remain unchanged, this generation’s new concerns and expectations pose a fresh set of challenges and opportunities to marketers seeking to talk to the Muslim consumer segment.
From a segmentation perspective, the challenge facing brands today is to avoid alienating the traditional Muslim consumers who will remain the bedrock of the global Muslim community worldwide while significantly updating the mode of engagement in order to find real relevance to the lives of the new young Muslim consumer today and indeed, the Muslim consumer of the future. Brands must really understand their lives as consumers from the inside, and learn what they are starting to expect from brands.