Muslim women in Southeast Asia a unique challenge for marketers

Muslim-women-in-Southeast-Asia-1PETALING JAYA: Muslim women in Southeast Asia are becoming increasingly cosmopolitan but also more religiously observant, creating both opportunities and challenges for market players in the region, a new study shows.

According to marketing portal Mumbrella Asia, the study, titled “The New Muslimah: Southeast Asia Focus”, found that 94% of those polled said Islam is “very important” and prioritised halal merchandise when buying food, personal care products and clothing.

Respondents were highly connected, with all of them owning a smartphone and 80% spending a minimum of four hours online each day on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram.

The study, which took into account the views of 500 Muslim women in Indonesia and 500 in Malaysia, said those in Indonesia were more likely to shop online than those in Malaysia.

Some 25% of Malaysian Muslim women said they purchased a product online on a weekly basis compared to 31% in Indonesia.

This number rose to 58% once a month in Malaysia and 75% in Indonesia.

According to the report, clothing and beauty products were the most frequently purchased items for those who did online shopping, with Japanese brands being the most sought after.

In Indonesia, 52% of women aged 18-39 said a career was “very important”, compared to 33% of women over 40.

In Malaysia, meanwhile, nearly 60% of younger women said a career was “very important”, and 50% of older women agreed.

The survey was carried out by the Asia unit of J Walter Thompson’s Innovation Group, which researches trends and provides insight for marketers.

The division is led by Chen May Yee, a former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Singapore’s Straits Times.