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Muslim consumers contribute $107 billion to global digital economy: Report

Thomson Reuters study shows Islamic e-commerce spending will grow faster than global digital economy by 2020

The contribution of Muslim consumers worldwide to the global digital economy in 2014 stood at $107 billion, according to the latest figures from a new survey released ahead of this year’s Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES).

The report, prepared by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) and Thomson Reuters, also reveals that the growth in the total value of Muslim consumers’ contribution to the global digital economy at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 per cent by 2020 is expected to outweigh the growth of the total global digital economy at a CAGR of 15 per cent during the same period.

The overall contribution of Muslim consumers represented 5.8 per cent of the global digital economy, worth nearly $2 trillion.

Of more than 2,000 Islamic lifestyle services available across websites and mobile platforms, “news and insights” emerged as the most popular category, with 21 per cent users, followed by “retail sales” and “media and entertainment”.

The fashion online retailers Modanisa and SefaMerve topped the list of five leading Islamic consumer websites, as e-commerce in the modest fashion sector turned out to be the most successful Islamic business model. The others to include in the list were Muslima.com, Qiran.com and IslamicOnlineUniversity.com.

Interestingly, the findings indicate that social media services customised for Muslims have proven less successful as business models, especially services pertaining to news and insights, which typically rely on revenue support from online advertising, says the report.

“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,” says Nadim Najjar, Managing Director of Thomson Reuters, Middle East and North Africa.

“The report further reaffirms that Islamic digital economy has indeed become an integral part of everyday life and indicates significant opportunity for growth in terms of business and innovation. We are confident the insights presented by the report will help entrepreneurs and established businesses better navigate this space,” he adds.