Read More Atheist Republic Southeast Asia is home to 250 million Muslims. According to a new report, 1 in 3 consider themselves more religious than their parents.
“The New Muslim Consumer” was released on September 21 by the marketing, research, and advertising company Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. The report explores how religious observance affects consumer market trends.
1 in 3 Southeast Asian Muslims more devout than parents: Report | Religion News | Al Jazeera https://t.co/lMLRyX65Rl
— Muslim Consumer (@muslimconsumer) September 21, 2022
According to the report, “the idea of halal has gone from mostly about food, namely avoiding pork and alcohol, to include travel, fashion, banking, education and more.”
The report draws from a survey of 1,000 Indonesians and Malaysians and research on dating apps.
Among the findings, only 21% of respondents say that they are less religiously observant than their parents, while 45% say they are equally observant. This means a third consider themselves more religiously focused than their parents. Further, a product considered halal is the most important factor to 91% of respondents, while the value for the money was 68%, high quality scored 61%, and good for the planet was 48%.
Wealth was only significant to 34% of respondents, and 28% said their passions were a priority.
Chen May Yee, Asia Pacific Director for Wunderman, said, “Muslim consumers are increasingly overlaying their religious beliefs on purchase decisions, and how they do so is constantly evolving.” He added, “New technologies bring new questions. For example, is the metaverse halal?”
The report shows that most Muslims are interested in the metaverse but still need to find out if it is compatible with Islam.
The rise of religious observance has led to Muslim-specific businesses. The report mentions sharia-compliant banking apps, hijabi-only hair salons, and halal restaurants. One example is the Noor Hotel in Bandung, Indonesia, which serves only halal foods and bans alcohol, and also has praying facilities and segregated swimming pools. Some companies sell luxury prayer robes “in silky wrinkle-free, breathable and quick-dry fabrics.”
The report also mentions the rise of “halal mobile apps.” Sharia apps use GPS to alert for prayer times, and dating apps measure compatibility based partly on the observance of religiosity.
Not all Southeast Asian Muslims are on board with the commercialization of their faith. Founder of Kuala Lumpur’s Iman research says, “We are a proud Muslim country. It’s good to have a halal process. But do you have to tag it to everything? We have become overly cautious. I blame politics.”
Two-thirds of respondents say they spend at least 5 hours online daily. 96% use WhatsApp, 87% use Facebook, and 61% are on Instagram. About 53% use prayer and Quran apps.