For several years now, marketers have pursued the estimated $1.9 trillion global Muslim consumer market, including the growing cohort of young, female hijabistas in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Now, marketers are waking up to another rising cohort: young, tech-savvy Muslimah in Southeast Asia.

Our newest trend report, The New Muslimah: Southeast Asia focus, zeroes in on this emerging sector.

A woman wearing a hijab and long dress for the Vivi Zubedi Basic fashion collection on the modest fashion website Hij Up com
Vivi Zubedi Collection on

Understanding the Southeast Asian Muslimah requires a nuanced approach. Broadly speaking, these young women are more cosmopolitan as consumers than older generations of female Muslims and are also more religiously observant. These two trends—more Islamic and more global—are playing out across sectors from food to beauty and fashion to banking to technology to travel, presenting opportunities and challenges to brands.

Models wearing the Dian Pelangi modest fashion collection 2016
Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi’s 2016 collection

The New Muslimah: Southeast Asia focus is the debut study from the Innovation Group’s new APAC division, helmed by Chen May Yee, a seasoned journalist who has worked in Malaysia, Singapore , and the United States. The report includes interviews with regional academics, media influencers and entrepreneurs, as well as six case studies of personalities and businesses that are reshaping what it means to be Muslimah.

Malaysian pop singer songwriter Yuna sitting on a chair in her fashion studio
Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna, one of six case studies.

The report also includes 20 pages of infographics from a survey of 500 Muslim women in Indonesia and 500 Muslim women in Malaysia conducted using SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary consumer research tool. Highlights from the survey include:

  • 71% of respondents feel that young women should have more freedoms than they currently do
  • Four out of five respondents spend at least four hours a day online, and younger women spend more time online than older women
  • When shopping for food, halal is a top priority and nine out of 10 respondents say it is “very” important
  • The vast majority of Muslim women own at least 10 hijabs, with 85% of younger women and 77% of older women owning 10 or more
  • About a third of women say they travel outside their country at least once a year, while a third of respondents never travel outside of their home country

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