September 20, 2015

Thomson Reuters Digital Islamic Economy Report for 2015 indicates growing significance of Muslim consumers to the global digital economy

Digital Islamic economy growing at a faster rate than the global digital economy; growth underpinned by increasing consumption of bespoke digital Islamic lifestyle services

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Muslim consumers worldwide contributed US$107 billion to global digital economy of nearly US$2 trillion in 2014, and their spending will grow faster than the rest of the digital economy by 2020. These are among the key findings from the [second] and latest edition of the report issued by Thomson Reuters and Dubai-based growth strategy and advisory firm DinarStandard, “Digital Islamic Economy Report”.

Currently, the size of consumption by Muslim consumers represents 5.8% of the total global digital economy – a share expected to increase significantly by 2020. The Islamic digital economy is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 17% by then, outstripping the growth of the total global digital economy by 2%.

Over 2,000 Islamic lifestyle services are being provided across websites and mobile platforms worldwide. The most popular categories include 'News and Insights' (used by 21% of consumers), followed by 'Retail Sales' and 'Media and Entertainment'.

The report recognises a substantial business opportunity in the digital Islamic economy, particularly within five segments: Sharing Economy; Social Commerce; Retail e-Commerce; Food Transportation and Logistics, and Islamic Finance Investment Products. It identifies e-commerce serving the modest fashion sector as the most successful business model; results show that online fashion retailers Modanisa and SefaMerve are among the top five leading Islamic consumer websites.

Interestingly, findings indicate that social media services customized for Muslims are less successful as business models, especially services pertaining to 'News & Insights', which typically rely on revenue support from online advertising.

In terms of popularity and usage, the Islamic web and mobile application ‘Muslim Pro’ ranks highest in terms of downloads. Productivity and education apps, as well as apps for Halal food ratings and modest fashion also feature prominently on the Digital Islamic Consumer Services leader board.  

“The report essentially shows how vital Islamic digital economy has become to the everyday lives of Muslims across the world, and points towards specific areas of growth and business potential,” said Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa.

He added: “These insights will help entrepreneurs and established businesses better navigate this space.”

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