The American Muslim Consumer Conference broke ground last year with a conference that was titled "American Muslim Consumer: Who? What? Where?" and drew a crowd of over 250 participants. This year they are back, and I hope to be one of the attendees. The conference is a platform for industry professionals to examine the American Muslim market sector and explore its rich potential. This year's conference is titled "Charting the Landscape."
According to Zogby International, there are approximately 7 million American Muslims living in the United States (or 9 Million, according to IFANCA), with an estimated buying power of $170 billion. The American Muslim Consumer Conference focuses on promoting dialog and raising awareness of this multicultural niche where many mainstream companies are now seeing a growing opportunity.
In a recent interview on CNBC's Street Signs titled "Muslims & Their Money," Mostapha Saout, CEO of Allied Media Corp., highlighted why big business should focus their attention on the American Muslim market. The Muslim demographic is relatively younger, with 89.3 percent below the age of 50, compared with 45.2 percent for the general population. They are also well educated, with 77.9 percent having a Bachelor's degree or higher as opposed to 43.7 for everyone else. This translates to a very affluent niche market, with 44 percent of American Muslims earning $75,000 or higher each year.
There are several companies globally that are starting to take notice of this untapped market with abundant opportunities across all industries, including the financial sector, food, fashion and even Hollywood. Ogilvy & Mather, a leading international advertising, marketing and public relations agency, has launched Ogilvy Noor, the world's first marketing consultancy service focused on Islamic branding practices.
John Goodman, Ogilvy & Mather's regional director for South and Southeast Asia, puts it into perspective: "It's like being in 1990 and telling people that China doesn't matter. Twenty years ago you might have said that, but now you're being foolish."
Miles Young, CEO of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, will be the keynote speaker at the second annual American Muslim Consumer Conference. He stresses the strategic value of the Muslim consumer: "A market of 1.8 billion people that has scarcely been tapped, Muslim consumers offer enormous potential to businesses around the world -- but only if their values are fully understood."
To be held at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, New Jersey on Saturday, October 30th 2010, the show promises to be as important to multinational companies as it is to large- and small-scale entrepreneurs.
Follow Naazish YarKhan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/yarkhan