As the global Muslim population increases, so does the demand for daily essential products that adhere to the religious beliefs and practices of Islam.
As such, we can see a boom in the Islamic product market, especially in the line of Muslim and modest fashion.The State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2019/20 estimates the expenditure by Muslims on apparel and footwear to be US$283bil in 2018, up from US$260bil in the previous year.
These facts spell lucrative business for many SMEs who specialise in modest or Muslim fashion around the world.
While it is common knowledge that Muslim-majority countries have a high demand for modest fashion, migratory and cultural trends have led to increasing interest for modest fashion in non-Muslim-majority countries too.
Hence, let us take a look at five hidden markets with growing modest fashion demand in the world.
Modest Fashion in Canada
While the fashion industry may have feasted its eyes on the US’s first ever Modest Fashion Week last year, it is important to take notice of another growing modest fashion market further up north.
According to the Canadian 2011 National Household Survey, there is an estimated 1.1 million Muslims in Canada and the figure is expected to only grow bigger.
Some Muslim Canadians have started taking modest fashion into their hands in light of the rising demand, with Nateka Pitter, the Canadian co-founder of the International Modesty Fashion & Designs Festival as an example.
Modest Fashion in Latin America
The number of Latin American Muslims is estimated to be over 4 million, with 0.7 million in Argentina and more than 1.5 million in Brazil alone. As brick-and-mortar stores still fall short in providing modest fashion in this region, Muslim designers are taking to the internet to share their wares. For example, Brazilian Muslim designers are using their skills to design modest clothing in line with Brazilian culture and trends for the Muslim community in the country.
Modest Fashion in Africa
Africa is a large continent, and so is the number of Muslims currently living there. According to the Pew Research Centre, 93% of its approximately 341 million inhabitants in Middle East-North Africa are Muslim, while Sub-Saharan Africa has 30% Muslim inhabitants out of its 1 billion inhabitants. With so many Muslim-majority countries with varied tastes in culture and fashion, SMEs are spoilt for choice with their business ventures.
Modest Fashion in Australia
SMEs can find Australia to be a potential lucrative business venture for modest clothing as the trend has only recently started taking off. According to Tarik Houcher, an Australian CEO of a hijab fashion house, modest fashion is still a fairly new concept to Australian eyes. Nevertheless, the modest fashion industry have since expanded – from being recognised by Malaysia’s former Minister of Tourism and Culture, Dato’ Seri Mohammed Nazri Abdul Azizi who launched a “Faith, Fashion, Fusion: Muslim Women’s Style in Australia” exhibition at the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, to Australia having a modest fashion show of its own in 2018.
Modest Fashion in Japan
While the Muslim population in Japan is relatively small with an estimate of 70,000 to 150,000 Muslims in the country, the Japan Muslim Fashion Association (JMFA) president and chief executive Shinichi Orita says there is sound potential for Muslim fashion exporters to Japan. He attributes these expectations to the fact that Japan has become more Muslim-friendly while Japanese traditional culture to cover the skin has an affinity with “Muslim fashion” among other factors. The situation definitely seems positive for the modest fashion industry in Japan as the number of Muslims in Japan are rising and the country saw its first Tokyo Modest Fashion Show in 2016.
Looking to the future, the global Muslim population is expected to increase considerably, from 1.6 billion people in 2010 to 2.76 billion by 2050.
Now is the best time for SMEs to venture into the global market of modest fashion when the trend is still new. Nevertheless, it is important to note that competition for the modest clothing industry is as fierce as any other fashion industry.
From product quality and practicality of a garment down to whether a garment’s particular design gels well with the culture of a particular country affects how well a business will be able to stand out from its competitors.
The density of competitors in a particular region is also a valid point to consider if one is to venture into a new business in a new country.
Hence, as you make preparations for your international business ventures, also ensure your products are up to par with your competitors for a successful business run.