Meet Generation M

Posted by Flux on 

11 July 2017

What is trending now?
A generation of young Muslims who aim to change the world and its view on the Muslim religion. The faithful millennial Muslims, mainly female, are a hyper-diverse, multinational and cultural demographic with an affluent income status. In the book Generation M author, Shelina Janmohamed,  explores the growing segment of the tech savvy, influential and entrepreneurial generation who are proud of their identity as Muslims and are taking charge of their lives while demanding for brands and businesses to take note.

Why is it important?
Pew Research centre on religion and public life estimates that the world’s population is projected to grow by 35% in the next four decades. It further states that the Muslim community is expected to increase by 73% from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.8 billion by 2050; making this the fastest growing population globally. Currently known as the Halal economy or Muslim pound in Europe, the Islamic global market will be worth $5 trillion in 2020.

With the dawdling response to the growing Muslim middle class from industries, Generation M have harnessed their own businesses which fulfil their needs. This generation is conservative in their religious practice while incorporating a modern approach to their lifestyle. They have kick-started a global Muslim market with large multinational corporations and companies are seeing the growing potential.

What is the effect?
The Halal brand continues to expand into various industries. Businesses need to keep in mind that by simply placing a Halal logo on a product is not the beginning and end for catering to this segment. Events such as the London Muslim Lifestyle show, which debuted in 2016, are created to assist markets in operating within halal protocol. This can be seen with the growing demand for Halal cosmetics. L’Oreal Indonesia ensured that they were Halal-complaint before launching their diversity-focused campaign. Sunsilk have followed suit with their Fresh and Clean products specifically for hijab-wearing woman in Malaysia. The halal cosmetic industry is expected to be worth $52.2 billion by 2025 as stated by Grand View Research. Large brands such as Estee` Lauder and Shiseido are working on being Halal certified to cater to the growing market. In the interim, online platforms such as Prettysuci, MMA Bio and Saaf Skincare are selling a variety of cosmetics permissible for their clientele. Companies such as Orly are tapping into this industry segment with collaborations, such as the one with to launch a nail polish collection titled #halalpaint.

Generation M are not just looking for visibility within industries but representation from brands. This generation responds to products that match the Muslim values. We are seeing certain industries putting this into practice. The Halal cruise, a first of its kind in Turkey, has no alcohol, gambling or pork products served on board. The Health Hijab is an online gym for woman who wear veils and feel uncomfortable working out at a gym with men. The digital sector is also catering to the segment with Alchemiya, also known as ‘Netflix for Muslims’ currently caters to subscribers in 39 countries. There is an increase in Apps that cater to teaching Islamic geometry called Iranian Puzzle, and Halal Gems which assists in seeking out Halal dining options wherever you are in the world.

The Pioneers
The hijabi, a nickname that is now viewed in a positive light refers to a young fashion minded Muslim woman. Fashion bloggers and vloggers such as Dina Torkia, Zinah nur Sharif and Nabiilabee have created a following which sees an alternative perspective to young multicultural modern Muslim woman. Getty Images have created their first batch of stock images that portray Muslim woman in a modern, realistic light versus the one dimensional depiction typically found on the internet. This is further seen with the launch of the Hijarbie, which is a Barbie in a hijab.

The fashion and cosmetic industry are paving the way for this influential generation. From the feature of the hijab wearing journalist Noor Tagouri in Playboy, the emergence of Muslim model Halima Aden who first appeared in the Yeezy Season 5 collection to H&M being the first fashion brand to feature a hijab wearing model in their 2015 campaign. Indonesian designer, Anniesa Hasibuan, was the first designer to showcase an entire collection of models in hijabs at the New York fashion week 2016.

We are also seeing high fashion brands such as DKNY, Dolce and Gabbana , and Japanese Uniqlo creating modest collections to cater to Generation M. Nike recently unveiled their Pro hijab initiative with the global launch of the athletic gear to be available in 2018. Marks and Spencers’ burkinis sold out within days of launching in 2016.

Global hotspots
Malaysia is said to be the global halal hub by 2020 with almost 4500 companies with halal certification in the country. The government has taken a step further with the introduction of a halal entrepreneur development programme.

Japan has also taken the ranks of catering to Generation M mainly through tourism. The Taito ward currently has 17 restaurants with halal certification – a step up as only restaurants serving Indian food were halal certified in the country. Last year, Syariah Hotel Fujisan was built to specifically cater to Muslims.

By Khumo Theko

Image credit: Habiba Da Silva 
Video credit: YouTube Music

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