According to a survey, the resurgence of religious faith and Western-style consumerism are transforming the consumption habits of Muslims in the region.

One in three Muslims in Southeast Asia consider themselves more religious than their parents were at their age, with their faith influencing decisions about personal spending, fashion, banking, travel and education, according to a report. investigation.

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

A strong relationship with God is the most important thing in life for 91% of Southeast Asian Muslims, tied with health and just ahead of family, according to the report by Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and VMLY&R Malaysia.

According to the report based on interviews with 1,000 consumers in Indonesia and Malaysia, only 34% consider wealth very important, with 28% valuing their passions and 12% citing fame as priorities.

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

Growing religious faith and the spread of Western-style consumerism has led to an evolution of Muslim-influenced consumerism beyond food to include everything from modest fashion and fintech in accordance with Islamic law, to dating apps Muslim and halal travel, according to the report.

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

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

For Muslim consumers, whether a product is halal or licensed is the most important factor when making a purchase, according to the report, with 91% of respondents saying it is very important, ahead of value for money , quality and environmental considerations.

More than 60% of Muslims consider it very important that a banking or investment product complies with Islamic law, while 77% consider the availability of halal food to be a major factor in choosing travel destinations. trip, according to the report.

While most households are headed by men, female breadwinners are a significant minority, with 42% of women reporting the most financial support compared to 70% of men who describe themselves as the primary provider.

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

The faith of Southeast Asian Muslims also influences their enthusiasm for burgeoning technologies such as the Metaverse, an emerging form of shared virtual reality, with 85% of respondents saying they would like to see virtual spaces designed for Muslims and 78% expressing interest in virtual religious paraphernalia. . However, 59% said they did not think the metaverse was compatible with Islamic teaching.

“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 inspires Muslims around the world to constantly link faith and functioning in innovative ways.”