In 2016, Tabish Hasan, Chief Executive of Muslim Ad Network, was featured in The Guardian as he compared the failure of established mainstream brands to tap into the Muslim market today to the same sentiment regarding the Hispanic market in the United States in the 1980s.
Now those brands can’t afford not to engage with the Hispanic market.
The Muslim lifestyle market is moving in the same direction – it’s so big, it has so much spending power. It’s just a matter of time.
There is no one majority ethnic group in the United States that dominates the American Muslim consumer audience. The Hispanic Muslim community is one of many. It is important therefore to learn a bit more about each one of them.
In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, we want to start that journey by taking a look at the Hispanic Muslim consumers in the United States.
The Strong Historic Bond Between Hispanic Americans and Islam
In 2020, U.S. News published an article that explained how the growing number of Latin American Muslims in the United States proudly talk about their historic and cultural ties to Islam, the Arab world, and the Spanish language.
We came to Islam because it appeals to our very Latinoness (Latinidad). We are converts just like born Muslims are nothing more than the descendants of converts.— Shinoa Matos, Journalist, New York
What’s fascinating though is the rapid speed at which the Hispanic American community is turning to Islam.
In 2009, just 1% of U.S. Muslims identified as Latino, reported the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a Washington-based advocacy group that provides research and education about American Muslims. Nine years later that figure had increased to 7%…Source: U.S. Latino Muslims Speak the Language of Shared Cultures
Here are some facts that could explain this attraction that Hispanic Americans have towards Islam based on the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal research paper: Raza Islamica: Prisons, Hip Hop & Converting Converts.
Fact 1 – Glorious Past
Islam attracts Latino individuals because they see it as a vehicle to reclaim their historical ties to a glorious past their forefathers enjoyed, in the Islamic world.
Fact 2 – Spain
Americans of Hispanic heritage also have a strong bond with Spain’s eight centuries of influence of Islam through Muslims during the Middle Ages who originated from Northwest Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily and Malta (The Moors).
Fact 3 – Arab Latinos
A significant number of Hispanic people bear their roots from Muslim West African slaves who were shipped off to Latin America during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. There was also an influx of Muslim Arabs from modern-day Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and Jordan who immigrated to Latin America during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Muslim Hispanic American Consumer Culture
The beauty of Islam is that it did not eradicate the cultures of people who converted to Islam. It encouraged the part of cultures that is beneficial and not contradictory to Islamic law and forbade the harmful ones.
Because of this, the Hispanic culture is still prevalent within the Hispanic Muslim community. Your business, brand, or organization needs to know how to navigate between the Hispanic and the Islamic culture.
I would like others to be able to understand and identify the difference between the true practices of our religion Islam vs the diverse cultures that Muslims who practice Islam belong to. For example, someone can be Mexican and Muslim and nowhere in the religion are we encouraged or obligated to choose between the two. We can be just as proud of our faith and culture. We do not need to compromise.— Nahela Morales, ICNA Dallas, Texas
Here is the big problem for marketers and advertisers though. Not all Hispanics are the same. Everyone knows this by now. Cubans, Puerto Ricans, immigrants from different countries in South America; there are just too many moving pieces there.
The ethnic mix of the Latino Muslims reflects people of a broad spectrum including: Africans, Native Peoples, and Europeans etc. This has increased because of the diaspora, the Triangular Slave Trade, and the Pre and Post-Colombian Exchange.— Jamal Abdul-Karim, MEd., Teacher, Maryland
And although not all Muslims are the same; there is so much that brings them together. So it is always a safe bet to lean towards Islam when marketing to Hispanic Muslim Americans.
This issue is not unique to Hispanics. It’s the same with Arabs, Southeast Asians, Africans, and even Caucasians.
Here are some general statistics and behaviors about Hispanic consumers. These are statistics and behaviors that are not in direct collision with their Muslim faith.
An example of a statistic or behavior that would collide with their Muslim faith such as dollars spent in buying alcoholic beverages is of no use when pursuing an understanding of Hispanic American Muslims.
Keeping this in mind will give you an advantage when advertising to the larger Hispanic group because now, you can take into consideration the dos and don’ts for Muslim Hispanics and not just Catholic Hispanics.
Hispanic American consumers spent $1.3 trillion in 2015. The expected buying power for 2020 was forecasted at $1.7 trillion.
Hispanic Americans will spend approximately $1.9 trillion on consumer goods by 2024. Hispanic Americans make up only 18% of the U.S. population. Yet, they were responsible for 26% of real expenditure growth between 2009 and 2019.
Open to New Products
An astounding 29% of Hispanic American consumers will readily try new beauty and personal care products. This is an opportunity for your new Muslim-friendly halal beauty and care line.
Authenticity is Vital
About 60% of Hispanic Americans find authenticity to be one of the most appealing qualities in a brand. This is closely related to the concept of purity: the sincerity that your brand provides to Muslim consumers.
While 34% of Hispanic American consumers say that they find socially responsible brands as the most appealing, the concept of social responsibility for business entities in Islam is part and parcel of being a business person. It is deeply rooted in Islamic business and advertising principles.
This is not an exhaustive list or even the tip of the iceberg. There is much a brand needs to know about the Hispanic American consumer in general. However, there is even more that needs to be researched when it comes to the Hispanic American consumer of the Islamic faith.
Understanding this and other sub-niches is very important when targeting Muslim consumers.
One of the biggest reasons for this is to be able to engage Muslim audiences of different ethnicities at the most granular level possible.
In his decade of experience helping companies target million of Muslims online, Muslim Ad Network CEO, Tabish Hasan, has come across many business entities that are very particular about not using religion to target consumers.
He suggests using ethnicity, such as in the case of Southeast Asians in New York. The same could be done with Hispanic Americans. For example, Hispanic Americans who are concentrated in certain areas in the United States, if there is a high volume of Hispanic Americans accepting Islam – which is currently the case.
It may take your business or organization time to formulate the best way to engage and convert such specific sub-niches. However, in Muslim Ad Network, you have a reliable partner who has been doing just that in the sphere of online advertising.start targeting muslim consumers