The Muslim lifestyle economy is set to reach $3 trillion by 2021, with the UK leading the way. April saw the third annual Muslim Lifestyle Show (MLS) in London double in size from the year beforehand. Exhibitors ranged from halal fried chicken to Hajj tour operators and from a Muslim dating app to modest fashion brands. The Muslim lifestyle economy isn’t new, but the boom is now unavoidable.
Glory Pits: natural deodorant for all
Many vegan and organic cosmetics brands have begun to explore halal certification realising the natural link and next step. Natural deodorant brand Glory Pits had its launch at MLS, aware of its inherent appeal for Muslim consumers. Founder Eunice Asante is ensuring the relevance of her brand from its very roots where she still creates products from her kitchen table, ensuring a broad base of conscious consumers with closely aligned values. We hope to see a growing number of brands create propositions and extensions based on inclusive philosophies and shared ethics rather than creating synergies labelled with diversity as a timely afterthought.
Muzmatch: a halal alternative to Tinder
Muzmatch is a halal dating app that combines the independence and modern conveniences of online dating with Muslim cultural and religious values. Rather than relying on the “auntie network” to make introductions, marriage-ready singles are taking destiny into their own hands, while still leaving room for their parents to approve their final choice. Miles away from Tinder, everything is strictly halal, of course – moderators and chaperones ensure that all users have the purest of intentions, and users can even see to what extent their matches are practicing Muslims (do they pray 5 times a day and fast at Ramadan?). Their comms is a tongue-in-cheek pun on halal dating.
Azanti: sheikh-approved non-alcoholic wine
Non-alcoholic brands have much to contend with in selling products that are legally, socially and religiously acceptable in Muslim majority markets, but to do so in the West with added reassurance is a less daunting prospect. Azanti Wines is a British distributor that imports French de-alcoholised wine across champagne, red and white varieties. They know that Muslim consumers still look for sophisticated and delicately flavoured drinks to unwind and destress, to celebrate, to compliment a meal, and even as a cooking ingredient. They have gone as far as getting products approved by a sheikh from the London Central Mosque to give consumers total peace of mind.
The future of the Muslim lifestyle economy
There is a distinct lack of mainstream brands communicating towards this significant segment of their potential consumers. They are highly discerning, not just looking for practical solutions to their lifestyle, but for brands that echo their values such as modesty, cruelty-free, naturalness, wholesomeness, philanthropy, self-care and pride in their appearance.
In the coming years we expect to continue seeing local start-ups fill the gaps, but once global brands start to catch up not only will they tap into a significant market, they will be able to play a much-needed role in destigmatising Muslim communities and emphasising our shared values. It is these shared values that need to be prioritised in intent and communication for brands to authentically join the conversation.