1 in 3 Southeast Asian Muslims more devout than parents: report


A resurgent religious belief and Western-style consumerism are changing the consumption habits of the region’s Muslims, research finds.

One in three Muslims in Southeast Asia consider themselves more religious than their parents were at their age, and their faith determines decisions about personal spending, fashion, banking, travel and education, a survey finds.

Only 21 percent of the region’s 250 million Muslims say they are less observant than their parents, while 45 percent consider themselves devout, according to the New Muslim Consumer report released Wednesday.

According to the report by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and VMLY&R Malaysia, a strong relationship with God is the most important thing in life for 91 percent of Southeast Asian Muslims, on par with health and just above family.

Only 34 percent think wealth is very important, 28 percent cite their passions and 12 percent cite fame as a priority, according to the report based on interviews with 1,000 consumers in Indonesia and Malaysia.

[Courtesy of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and VMLY&R Malaysia]

Growing religious beliefs and the spread of Western-style consumerism have led Muslim-influenced consumerism to evolve beyond food and include everything from modest fashion and fintech in accordance with Islamic law, to Muslim dating apps and halal travel, the report said.

“Muslim consumers are increasingly placing their religious beliefs on their purchasing decisions, and the way they do this is constantly evolving,” said Chen May Yee, Asia-Pacific director of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

“New technologies bring new questions – for example, is the metaverse halal?”

According to the report, for Muslim consumers whether a product is halal or permitted is the most important factor when making a purchase, with 91 percent of respondents saying it is very important, before value for money, quality and environmental considerations.

According to the report, more than 60 percent of Muslims consider it very important whether a banking or investment product complies with Islamic law, while 77 percent consider the availability of halal food an important factor when choosing travel destinations.

While most households are male-led, female breadwinners form a significant minority, with 42 percent of women saying they provide the most financial support, versus 70 percent of men who describe themselves as the main provider.

muslim consumers
[Courtesy of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and VMLY&R Malaysia]

The beliefs of Southeast Asian Muslims also influence their enthusiasm for nascent technology such as the metaverse, a nascent form of shared virtual reality, with 85 percent of respondents saying they would like to see virtual spaces for Muslims and 78 percent showing an interest in virtual religious. accessories . However, 59 percent said they do not believe the metavers are compatible with Islamic teachings.

“Southeast Asia is more than just a Muslim market — it’s a testing ground for the latest global trends,” said Safa Arshadullah, writer and researcher at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence.

“What is happening here is inspiring Muslims around the world to consistently intertwine faiths and function in innovative ways.”

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