The Muslim population in the U.S. is estimated to be somewhere between 4 and 8 million individuals. According to the U.S. State Department, about ¾’s of these Muslims are African American.  Considered to be the fastest-growing religious group in this country, the number of Muslims will exceed the number of 1234284_call_to_prayerJewish people in the U.S. by next year. In addition to expanding their vocabulary and learning more about Muslim holidays, marketers will need to find effective ways to tap into the buying power of this market which now hovers at around $170 billion.

A look at Muslims in the U.S. indicates these consumers represent an attractive target:

  • U.S. Muslim population under age 40: 67%
  • U.S. Muslim population with a college degree: 67%
  • Muslims with annual incomes exceeding $50,000: 66%

To date, many marketers have shied away from targeting Muslims. And who can blame them when consumers complained last year about a Dunkin’ Donuts ad which featured non-Muslim celebrity Rachel Ray wearing a keffiyeh – a scarf-like article of clothing associated with Arab men.

Michael Hastings-Black, co-founder of Desedo Advertising Agency, recently noted that marketers would do well to use social networking tools to effectively reach the “large and diverse US Muslim community.” This religious group purchases up to 30% of the kosher food produced in the U.S.  While food represents a common bond for practicing Muslims, many of these individuals purchase other products such as TVs or computers without considering their religious identity. In those cases, marketers can increase their visibility by advertising in Muslim media outlets. As the demographics of the U.S. continue to shift, marketers will be looking for new ways to reach niche groups without offending their members or the public at large.

[Sources:  Salzman, Marian, Marketing to Muslims, AdWeek; Devi, Sharmila, Corporate US gets to know Muslims, The National, 11.09.09]