Euromonitor International, which issued a review of halal product markets, thinks that nearly double-digit annual growth awaits the global market of Islamic fashion clothing in the medium-term prospect.
Euromonitor International’s research analyst Natalia Gorzawski says that in the short-term it may be more beneficial for a manufacturer to invest in existing local brands or in cooperation with a Muslim fashion designer to create a new label.
“However, creating a new brand requires solid research in local markets and financial resources to develop a manufacturing process and a supply chain that can guarantee compliance with widely accepted halal standards. Furthermore, to exploit the full potential of this underserved consumer segment, particularly in developing countries, manufacturers will need to create an affordable clothing line that can serve the demand of the mass market and not just a small minority of upscale consumers,” she said.
In her view, it is not surprising that facing these challenges, multinational companies are still struggling to enter the market.
“However, with the tremendous potential Islamic fashion offers in the future, it would be foolish to overlook its long-term potential. In fact, in 2013, the 57 countries that belong to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation accounted for 7% of total value sales of apparel and footwear. By 2018, this figure is forecasted by Euromonitor International to rise to over 9%. And with approximately two billion Muslims in the world, accounting for nearly 30% of the global population, it is a target audience that should not be lightly ignored,” Gorzawski believes.
According to the Company’s estimates, 7.9% of the fashion market accounted for OIC countries in 2014, and in 2015 their share will grow already up to 8.1%, in 2016 up to 8.4%, in 2017 up to 8.8%, and in 2018 up to 9.1%.
She adds that the rapid urbanisation of many Muslim dominated countries has brought with it an expansion in product portfolios and retail options showcasing global fashion trends.
“There has been a desire amongst Muslim women to see clothing that acknowledges these more modern fashion styles but is respectful to Islamic tradition. Stylish modesty enters the catwalks Modern fashion styles are a trend that has been slowly gaining traction in the Muslim world. However, despite the progressive and modern elements that have been showcased by these local companies, most of the product lines are designed to cater to specific local tastes and do not successfully service other countries, let alone an international audience. As a result, the rising interest in Islamic fashion is currently outpacing supply, and the Muslim shopping experience is often a frustrating one. The modern Muslim woman, whether in Turkey or the UAE, wants to wear clothes with similar prints, materials and accessories popular amongst women in the U.S. and Western Europe,” she is sure.
International haute couture and runway-inspired designs by international retailers such as H&M or Zara are therefore often admired, but in many cases, do not meet the required standard of modesty. Most of the clothing is tightly tailored, has unsuitable necklines or hemlines and may not provide a matching headscarf. The huge and increasing consumer segment of young and urban Muslims interested in a modern lifestyle – which includes acknowledging current global fashion trends – is left with a small selection of clothes from which to choose.
“In the Gulf region, where disposable income is high, the market has therefore witnessed increasing demand for custom-made options to fulfill the current gap in product offerings. And in developed countries, where the availability of even more traditional clothing lines for Muslims is limited, small start-ups catering to this consumer segment are reporting a tremendous success. As such, Islamic fashion apparel offers a huge opportunity globally, with strong potential for growth, though it also faces many challenges. Local start-ups still struggle to adapt to an international focus or to meet the competition with attractively priced products. Moreover, international companies may often lack the expertise and specific knowledge of Muslim traditions to properly cater to this audience,” Gorzawski emphasized.
According to Gorzawski, in 2014, when DKNY launched its Ramadan collection, the apparel market witnessed the first successful initiative by a multinational company to tap into this potentially lucrative market.
“Other multinational companies are expected to follow suit in the coming years, as the global apparel industry shifts focus towards developing countries and niche segments to compensate for the low growth rates of mature markets in Western Europe and North America. Islamic line extensions of internationally renowned brands therefore appear as an easy and cost-effective solution, though such product lines may face criticism if not done correctly. In particular, Muslim consumers require the company to have a strong ethical focus and respect of halal law. This stretches from the manufacturing process, through the supply chain, down to the final product. Along with this, a cohesive brand message is required to relay this adherence to these Islamic values. As Islamic fashion apparel is still in its early stages, there will likely.