Muslim-majority countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan continue to enjoy strong GDP growth. “Companies who are willing to invest in this market, and willing to look into the diversity and the needs of this market, they will succeed,” says Masood. “Because the numbers speak for themselves.”
According to the Thomson Reuters report, produced in collaboration with research firm DinarStandard, Muslim consumers spend an estimated $243 billion on clothing annually, which is projected to grow to $368 billion by 2021.
Major brands, however, have been slow to enter the market. “A huge opportunity is being missed by corporate brands, but [the market] is being taken by storm by young Muslim startups,” Shelina Janmohamed, vice-president of Islamic branding agency Ogilvy Noor, told the Guardian.
An important driver of clothing purchases is “modest fashion,” which includes clothing that covers the body according to Islamic principles. In February, London held its first-ever Modest Fashion Week, featuring more than 40 labels. February also saw the launch of The Modist, a platform that aims to be the Net-a-Porter of modest fashion. The site is among the first to tap into high-fashion styles, breaking down the idea that modest fashion is necessarily also traditional in design.
A few mainstream brands have taken tentative steps in this direction. In 2015, H&M ran its first ad that showed a woman in a hijab. Uniqlo also launched a line of headscarves in 2016, while Nike’s “Pro Hijab,” a functional garment intended for athletes, launched in March 2017.
Entering the modest fashion market is not without its risks. In 2016, UK retailer Marks & Spencer launched a line of “burkinis,” or modest swimwear, that sparked criticism in the press and online. However, the line also sold out, showing that demand for these items does exist, even in non-Muslim majority countries.
Global Muslim spending on cosmetics is expected to reach $213 billion by 2021, up from $46 billion in 2013, according to Thomson Reuters.
“Large Muslim populations based in Asia Pacific and increased consumer disposable incomes in most [of these] countries, such as Malaysia, Indonesia and India, has led to high growth in the halal cosmetics market,” Vijay Sarathi, an analyst at market research firm Technavio, told Business of Fashion.