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RISE OF THE GUMmies – Are you one of them?

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Are you a Global Urban Muslim or GUMmies? If you are one, you’ll know exactly what this is even if this is the first time you’ve heard of it. It’s a mindset. A lifestyle. A movement in it’s initial stages. BBC wrote about this 2 years ago and Forbes recently did an article piece about it this year.

Well what is it then? “This underserved demographic is clustered in cities all over the world. They are young, well-educated, politically aware and socially conscious. They are raising young families and are concerned with issues of education, health and child development. They have diverse interests that extend to art, music, film, books, documentaries, heritage, the environment and social justice. For them, Islam is not only about the past, it is also the way forward to a meaningful life whether they live in the traditional Muslim world, or in the West.” says Navid Akhtar of Alchemiya who first coined this global term.

So what does this mean? It means that most GUMmies are western educated or highly educated with many having studied abroad in the UK or West and have similar buying preferences. They use Macs and buy the latest iPhones or Samsung S whatever is the latest, watch the latest movies in the best cinema’s, shop at Tesco but they also subscribe to Mufti Menk’s facebook on their Mac’s and attend streamed bayyinah.tv’s video lectures on their Samsung S6 of Nouman Ali linguistically breaking down Quranic verses into its bare bones before putting it back together again in his typical engineering “Thermodynamic like” university lecture format.

There are several interesting things about GUMmies. They are not regional, country, continent or even economic specific (as opposed to race) but currently the first step in a large global fragmented market that is coming together as one.

If you connect GUMMies from across the world; Malaysia, Russia, Brazil, India, South Africa, China, US, UK, Tanzania etc, they will be more or less, on the same wavelength and are able to converse and engage well in conversations not only from a Islamic point of view but also on global music, movies, geo politics, science, arts, child education and others.

This is the reason why one of the largest brand management company in the world Ogilvy & Matter set up Noor, a muslim branding department to advise their clients on the muslim markets, Thompson Reuters having an Islamic Business Index, DKNY and Zara having launched their muslim modesty fashion lines recently targeting the young and hip muslim market.

GUMmies currently are not represented, and they are waiting for a platform to stand on. A few are starting. Alchemiya streams Islamic lifestyle content on a Netflix-like model. Zilzar.com connecting muslim retailers together. So, are GUMmies a movement? Yes. Have they started moving. Only recently. And they are united over the unfair perspective the world has potrayed Islam.

This diasporic market is now starting to coalesce into a single global market with over USD2.1 trillion (Thompson Reuters – Global State of Islamic Economy Report 2015) in spending power per year who are praying towards the same location and fasting in the same month that world cannot ignore anymore. Give a platform for the GUMmies to stand and they will move the world. The new breed.

This article is written by our guest writer, only to be known as Stan Mechs.


References :

  1. Forbes – The Next 1.7 Billion Consumers; Selling To The Muslim World
  2. BBC News – The rise of the affluent Muslim Traveller
  3. World Halal Forum 2015, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Various Conference Proceedings
  4. Bayyinah TV – http://www.bayyinah.tv (Nouman Ali Lecture Series)
  5. Mufti Menk – http://www.facebook.com/multimenk
  6. Ogilvy Noor – http://www.wpp.com/wpp/companies/ogilvy-noor/
  7. International Business Times – Muslim Fashion Market Poised To Skyrocket As Retailers Like Uniqlo Embrace ‘Modest’ Lines
  8. Thompson Reuters – Global State of Islamic Economy Report 2015

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