How To Engage With Muslim Consumers

Reaching Muslim consumers and making inroads to this audience takes a deep insights and understanding of their values. Muslim communities are significant proportion of ethnic population and are one of the most influential, loyal consumer groups.

This makes them a desirable target market for mainstream luxury brands. Arab shopper spends 15 times more than mainstream UK shopper. Arab tourist from Saudi and the UAE spends around an average £2000 in London expensive stores.

Often marketing to multicultural groups is treated like a topping rather than an essential part of the strategy. Few brands have recognised the benefits of this approach and are reaping the rewards by developing new sales channels and positioning themselves as solid partners for this fastest growing market. According to the recent census estimates* ethnic population is estimated to above 20% of the UK population. Some brands have started using cultural events and shopping festivals as an opportunity to reach these consumers.

This year July coincides with one of the most important spending seasons for ethnic consumers, the holy month of Ramadan which has a tremendous impact on work and spiritual life of Muslims around the world. People who observe Ramadan take time for prayers reading Quran and working to purify their souls. They generally donate to charities and help the needy. Mosques and community organizations also hold Iftar feast gatherings. Ramadan is followed by Eid festival where purchases and spending is at its peak. For Muslims Eid is equivalent to the traditional Christmas shopping spree. This is the time when most brands launch their tailored campaigns.
London businesses are expecting the sales figures to go up as Ramadan approaches.

When offering products to Muslim communities the understanding of their consumer psychology and preferences must be considered as well. Muslim communities all over the world tend to emphasize and trust in relationships, word of mouth and peer influence. Despite the immense diversity of cultures and economies, Islam binds Muslims together in their daily lives, especially consumption choices.
Another big opportunity for brands is offering Halal products to consumers. The Economist estimates that the Halal market alone in USA is $2.1 trillion a year. It is a growing market in the UK as well as there are over three million Muslims according to the official census data*. Halal itself is an interesting notion, which may appeal to the wider audiences other than just Muslims. It’s not only about meat and curry but also products that Muslim consumers consider good, pure and produced in line with ethical and Islamic principles. Alcohol, pork, and their derivatives are not permitted in Halal products. Halal rules encompass even pharmaceutical, beauty and financial products. There is also significant similarity between Halal consumers and environmentally conscious consumers.

Fashion, and cosmetics luxury goods companies are untapped industries that present enormous opportunity for reaching new consumer base. Hotels and stores are hiring Arab staff and introducing Halal menus to cater for the needs of rich Arab customers. Hotels such as the Grosvenor House has 80% of its occupants from Arab countries and other hotels such as the Savoy, Landmark, Sheraton, Intercontinental are showing equally impressive figures.
In the past three years supermarket chains like ASDA, TESCO and MORRISONS have been targeting Muslim consumers. They buy in bulk particularly before and during Ramadan.
Boots introduced Halal baby food range in 2007 and collaborated with the Muslim Food Board to reach Muslim consumers.
Best Buy wished the Muslim customers “Happy Eid” in its Ad and won the support of Muslim consumers as a result the sales increased by 13%. Since then, Best Buy has included holiday wishes for other faiths in its ads.

Any company that does not consider reaching them is missing out on a significant opportunity to stimulate their top and bottom-line growth. Brands that wish to engage with these consumer groups at an emotional level have to understand these trends and traits.

To summarize here are a few tips that would help brands and organizations:
•   Understand Muslim culture and values
•   Focus on charity and giving during Ramadan
•   Communicate with relevant messages that Muslims relate to
•   Work with local community leaders and influencers
•   Catch up with the shopping spree of Muslims prior and during Ramadan
•   Target the audience with ethnic minority media
•   Appoint multicultural marketer and work with specialist marketing experts with a proven track record and insights

 

Saad Saraf

CEO

www.thinkethnic.com