Archive for : Muslim Market

Here’s what happened when companies catered to Muslim consumers

The Economist conducted a study in 2012 showing that over 50% of businesses who catered to the Muslim consumer enjoyed an “annual growth in revenue of at least 5%, while 34% are registering higher than 15% growth. The same participants are sanguine about the future: over 60% of respondents foresee at least 5% growth in three years, while 43% envisage growth in revenue higher than 15%.”[1]

From Best Buy running a simple Eid holiday greeting campaign which translated into a 13% increase in annual sales, to Walmart opening a store that caters to the Muslim community in Michigan, to Whole Foods’ introducing Saffron Road halal food products into their stores nationwide, it’s clear that there is real growing market potential that these corporations are tapping into. [1] [2] Published research and studies are continuing to show that American Muslim consumers have over $170 billion in buying power, yet the market has yet to fully cater to this buying power by providing targeted products and services. [3]gieWith the current global Muslim population ballooning to 1.8 billion and growing rapidly, very few businesses can afford to ignore this demographic.[4] More than 50% of the Muslim population is under the age of 25, accounting for 10% of the world’s population, and businesses are beginning to understand the vital need to engage this audience while the opportunity is at its peak.

The US Census Bureau reported that there were an estimated 6 million American Jews in 2008, while Zogby International estimated the number of Muslims to range up to 7 million in that same year, and yet a Muslim lifestyle network stated that for every halal product in the US there are 800 kosher products. [4] Therefore it’s easy to understand why a poll found 76% of American Muslims wishing American companies “would provide a wider range of products with specific appeal to the Muslim consumer.” 98% of companies don’t reach out to Muslim consumers, while over 80% of this population claims to be loyal to a product that supports Islamic identity. [5] [6]


[1] http://www.economistinsights.com/sites/default/files/legacy/ mgthink/downloads/The%20Sharia-ConsCious%20Consumer%20-%20WEB.pdf

[2] http://americanmuslimconsumer.com/2013/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Ogilvy-Noor_A-Little-Empathy-Goes-A-Long-Way.pdf

[3] Ibid. 1.

[4] Ibid. 2.

[5] Ibid. 2.

[6] http://www.ogilvynoor.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Lets-Do-It-Our-Way-Muslim-Youth-Redefining-Leadership.pdf

Understanding the commercial habits of Muslims

Looking ahead into the future is of paramount importance for any organization that wants to stay on the top in their field of business. Today’s forecasts, business research are tomorrow’s profits. While all business school teaches this the message seems to have been lost in the majority of business. The organizations that do pay attention to the trend, and try to plan for the future come out as successful.

Islam guides about 2 billion people around the world and in United States there are growing numbers of people who are following the teachings of Islam. Understanding Islam and its followers will be a critical piece of strategy that no organization can ignore. This is my attempt at making it a bit more clear for people and organizations that want to grow or do business for/with Muslim community in the United States.

How different are Muslims? What can you do to make Muslims feel more welcomed and satisfied in doing business with you? These are the questions I will try and answer with my blogs.

Muslims are follower of the Islam; they believe that; “there is only one God and Muhammad (peace be upon him) is his messanger”. Muslims are guide in their daily life by the set of laws listed in the Holy Quran. This blog is too small to cover all of these laws. At a very high level; you could say that Allah has listed as law the commonsense and best practice of any society, along with a wealth of information from astrology, medicine, Biology, physiology and much much more.

To understand the commercial habits of Muslims you have to understand that Muslims have prohibition to do certain things. The things that are prohibited are referred as “haraam”. For example, some foods ingredients that are considered haraam are:

Meat from swine: Any product that has directly or indirectly been extracted from pig/swine is forbidden.
Alcohol: Intoxicating beverages or items are forbidden from consumption.
BONE PHOSPHATE – E542: An anti-caking agent made from the degreased steam-extract from animal bones.
COCHINEAL/CARMINE – E120, E122: A red dyestuff consisting of dried bodies of female cochineal insects. Note: E124 Ponceau 4R is acceptable although it is sometimes known as Cochineal Red A.
GELATINE: Gelatine is an odorless, tasteless, protein substance like glue or jelly, obtained by boiling the bones, hoofs, and other waste parts of animals. Vegetarian alternatives such as Agar Agar and Gelozone exist.
GLYCERINE – E422: May be produced from animal fats, synthesized from propylene or from fermentation of sugars.
L-CYSTEINE: A flavor and improving agent manufactured from animal hair and chicken feathers.
MAGNESIUM STEARATE: May be made from animal fat. Often found in medicines.
RENNET (ANIMAL): An enzyme taken from the stomach of a newly killed calf used in the cheese making process. Vegetarian cheese is produced using microbial or fungal enzymes, or chymosin.
VANILLA EXTRACT: Vanilla is a plant product. It is extracted with alcohol as the solvent of choice, from the vanilla bean and is normally kept in a solution containing alcohol. If you examine at a bottle of vanilla extract, you will find it lists alcohol as an ingredient, along with the percentage of alcohol.
WHEY: During cheese making, a coagulum is formed by clotting milk with rennet. When the coagulum is cut, a watery liquid known as whey is released and drained off leaving the curd to be salted and further processed into cheese. Whey contains water, fat, protein, lactose, minerals and lactic acid. Cream, butter, cheese, drinks, syrups and powder are some of the products made from whey.
SHELLAC E904: a resin from the lac insect
EMULSIFIERS (E470 to E483): haraam if obtained from pork or non-halal sources.

There are some sections of Muslims who may have more food products (some seafood) that they would want to add to this list but I will not cover them in this post.

In my next post, I will cover Halal Finance and give some examples of how commercial transactions are conducted under Islamic guidelines.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
http://www.islamforlife.co.uk
http://muslimpopulation.com/

The Power of the American Muslim Consumer

The 3rd annual American Muslim Consumer Conference (AMCC) will be held on Saturday, October 29th at Hotel Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey from 9 AM to 5 PM.

We hold this conference annually attracting over 350 to 400 diverse attendees: from community members and leaders, entrepreneurs, professionals, and marketing/advertising/PR executives. Following are confirmed speakers for 2011 AMCC:

  • Tariq Farid – Founder and CEO, Edible Arrangements International
  • Errol Schweizer – Global Grocery Coordinator, Whole Foods Market
  • Layla Mandi – Founder & CEO, OnePure
  • Gwen Kelly – Senior Marketing Manager, Walmart
  • Jalel Aossey Director, Midamar Corporation
  • Susan Labadi Editor in Chief, HalalConnect Magazine, American Halal Association
  • Ibrahim Abdul-Matin – Author, “Green Deen”
  • Peter Gould – Designer, Peter-Gould.com
  • Moose Scheib – CEO, LoanMod
  • Kamran Pasha – Screenwriter & Director, Hollywood
  • Maria Ebrahimji – Director & Executive Editorial Producer, CNN Worldwide
  • Adnan Durrani – CEO, American Halal Company, Inc.
  • Abdalhamid Evans – Director, Imarat Consultants
  • Jane Carten – Director & President, Saturna Capital
  • Haroon Mokhtarzada – Co-Founder & CEO, Webs Inc.
  • Nausheena Hussain – Multicultural Marketing, Best Buy
  • Dilawar Syed (Tentative) – President & CEO, Yonja Media Group
  • Rushdi Siddiqui – Global Head, Islamic Finance & OIC Countries Thomson Reuters

Since the launch of first AMCC in 2009, we have been working to understand and address the needs of American Muslim Consumers and promote companies/entrepreneurs who are developing products for this market.

At the 2010 conference, Ogilvy and Mather, one of the leading marketing and advertising agency released a research report on American Muslims called, “A little empathy goes a long way: How brands can engage the American Muslim consumer”. The report revealed that 86% of American Muslim Consumers believe that American Companies “need to make more of an effort to understand Muslim values” but at exactly the same time they are feeling largely ignored by American brands and companies with 98% feeling that “American brands don’t actively reach out to Muslim Consumers”.

The theme of the conference this year will be “Multiculturalism and the American Muslim Consumer Market”. This will be a landmark conference highlighting the opportunities and potential which mark the American Muslim Consumer market as a valuable niche (similar to the Hispanic market a decade ago and today this market stands at $1.4 Trillion).

The purchasing power of American Muslims is estimated to be about $200 Billion annually, however there are very few brands and limited products servicing the need of American Muslims. JWT’s 2007 study of ‘one of America’s biggest hidden niche markets’ revealed that the American Muslim consumers represent “a neglected market with huge potential for brands that are willing to connect with them.”

This consumer landscape can be broken down into two categories. The first, consumer products and services that a Muslim household spends on, that are not unique for Muslim consumers alone, and the second, products and services that are customized for Muslim Consumer unique needs.

The first category is where marketing focus is needed on custom communication, targeted media reach and building loyalty. The second category is where customized Muslim products/services or dedicated business lines are developed.

There are some key questions that arise for marketers in formulating an effective American Muslim marketing strategy. Almost half of the American Muslims are indigenous and the recent immigrant populations are already into their second or third generations. As a result, many consumer behavior aspects are reflective of the general American consumption patterns. From buying cell phones to drinking soft drinks, the American part of their identity prevails. However, a variety of Muslim market specific product categories and levels of customization opportunities do exist.

In recent years we have seen a mainstream company like Best Buy Inc., a major retailer of electronic products, in America launching various marketing communication to target American Muslims. One such communication was acknowledging a Muslim holiday “Eid al-Adha,” for the first time in a national advertisement.

Iconic American companies such as Costco, and Sams Club have entered the halal arena, you can buy Halal lamb at select Costco and Sams Club locations. In August, the natural grocery giant Whole Foods began selling its first nationally distributed halal food product — frozen Indian entrees called Saffron Road.

American Muslim entrepreneurs have also launched many companies targeting the Muslim Consumers. In the area of Islamic Finance we have seen emergence of companies like Amana Mutual Fund and Azzad Investment Fund in Sharia Compliant Mutual Fund, Guidance Residential and University Islamic Financial in home mortgages and Zayan Financial in Takaful home insurance products.

In the area of Halal Food, Crescent Food, Saffron Road and Midamar are emerging as a mainstream brand.

There is a big buzz about the Muslim lifestyle market, where the fashion industry is constantly looking for new influences, and is shaped by grassroots trends, as well as different cultures. Fashion is a global phenomenon, and that the rising market is with young Muslim consumers who embrace and fuse together both fashion and faith in order to express their identity.  JaanJ’s (www.JaanJ.com) collection of non silk vegan ties will surely captivate you with its trendy design.

The American Muslim market today has a fast growing diverse set of media and forums that enable access to it. From fast growing online networks such as Zabihah.com, Illumemag.com, Islamicity.com and Elanthemag.com to publications such as Azizah magazine (for American Muslim women) and regional newspapers, a variety of media are fast maturing with captive audiences that reflect the full fabric of American Muslim society and are becoming popular in bringing issues of American Muslims in the forefront.

From food to fashion to finance, buying Muslim is a big opportunity and consumer brands in the U.S. who are smart enough to embrace them will experience firsthand their spending power, brand loyalty and brand advocacy.  The increased support and buzz around this emerging consumer segment is good for the Muslim community, brands seeking to court them and the U.S. economy. And as the outlook for significant top-line growth and overall economic recovery still looks gloomy in many sectors, look for more brands, mainstream and Muslim-owned, to begin to make efforts to gain the attention and loyalty of a significantly important and underserved demographic in the marketplace – the American Muslim Consumer.

American Muslim Market 2011: Business Landscape & Consumer Needs Study

DinarStandard™ (DS), a growth strategy research and advisory firm focused on the global Muslim markets, will be releasing its “American Muslim Market: Business Landscape & Consumer Needs” study exclusively at the American Muslim Consumer Conference, Oct 29 2011.

AMCC attendees will get a special summary presentation of the study findings.  The full study will also be available at a special rate only for registered attendees.

This ground-breaking study will for the first time look at the state of business activity addressing American Muslim needs and show consumer perception of key brands on US halal food, finance, travel and select other sectors.  The study will also highlight American Muslim consumers un-met lifestyle needs.

The key questions this study will reveal:

  1. How is the Muslim demographic different across populations centers?
  2. Which are the major businesses and brands catering to American Muslims (halal food, finance, travel, fashion, media and other sectors)?  How do different brands compare?
  3. What is the brands image with consumers (food & finance)?
  4. What are the key influencing factors for purchase (channels, product attributes, services etc.)?
  5. What are the major latent needs of American Muslims not being met?

The study will be based on a nationwide grass-roots consumer survey across the major population centers and supplemented by DinarStandard’s market research and analysis.