Halal market moving into mainstream?
We, at Generation Halal, have already presented you impressive numbers regarding the potential consumer market of Muslims worldwide (go here). It is estimated that the halal market alone is worth an estimated US $2.1 trillion a year and is growing at US$500 billion annually due to an ever-increasing Muslim population (source: http://www.ogilvynoor.com/).
In Asia and the Middle East, the heartlands of Islam, this trend of targeting a Muslim market with specialized, customized and Islamized goods and commodities has already established itself firmly. But what about Europe and other places outside of the original core of Islamic countries?
In Europe, halal food is by now an accepted item in many super markets and food stores. But besides food, other commodities and products targeting the Islamic consumer are slowly (and finally?) claiming a place in the mainstream consumer trade.
The internet plays a key role in this process. First of all, through the internet Muslim consumers can inform each other very easily, for example through social media, about the appearance of new Islamic trends, merchandise and commodities. Second, the producers of these commodities often (only) use the internet as their base. Their business websites functions as web shop, pr- and media tool and service desk at once. Who needs a real office these times? Thirdly, the internet has not only been a catalyst for the coming into being of these new businesses concerned with Islamic commodities, it has also inspired others to do the same or similar thing. A Dutch saying says: Beter goed gejat dan slecht bedacht, which roughly translates as: “It is better to steal something good, then to invent something bad.”
Remarkably, or maybe not, the products and commodities that are staking their claim most prominently these days are not tangible goods like food or clothing, but intangible cultural products like movies, art, music and media-life style. This trend seems to indicate that the halal market is not only about ‘goods’ as such, but also about creating and reconstructing present European culture. With the increased popularity of all kinds of halal cultural productions among European Muslim youth, can we say that the new generation of post-migration European born and based Muslims are making a way for the incorporation of halal culture into mainstream popular culture? Dr. Peter Mandaville is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs and Co-Director of the Center for Global Studies at George Mason University, and has presented an interesting analysis, or at least the beginning of an analysis, of this new trend. Check out his lecture on this topic here: http://islamicstudies.gmu.edu/events/1469. Mandaville sees this development as part of a process instigated by European Muslim youth that revolves around the creation of a new Western-Islamic vernacular.
Generation Halal wants to know what you think? How do you see the future of this new halal market and culture? For your inspiration, Generation Halal has (randomly) collected - and in no way is this list supposed to be considered exhaustive - some links to websites, or articles on websites that also deal with this topic, ranging from Islamic punk music to hip-hop, from life-style to halal food, from TV programmes to movies, from fashion to toys. No doubt that some might question the ‘Islamicity’, halalness or Islamic legitimacy of some of these products. But maybe that is exactly what empowers this trend: popular culture is a flexible field of cultural products appealing to a great audience, but capable of carrying on a spectrum of wide-ranging interpretations and meanings.
Feel free to gives us your input or share your websites with us.
Coming soon: a new blog on: ‘Muslim fashion = Islamic fashion = fashion?’