Deloitte report says digital Islamic services emerging sector

The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, partnered with professional services firm Deloitte, recently released a report on untapped opportunities presented in the digital Islamic services market.

The report, compiled by the Sharia-compliant firm Noor Telecom, details a number of areas where there are market openings to build on Islam-based digital services to serve both the Middle East and the growing Muslim population around the world.

The report was authored by Santino Saguto, partner, consulting and technology, media and telecommunications leader at Deloitte Middle East, Gareth Pereira, director, consulting, Deloitte Middle East and Adil Parvez, senior consultant, consulting, Deloitte Middle East.

Saguto told Gulf News Journal in a written statement specific growth areas include modest fashion, Islamic finance, economic finance, media, art and design.

Saguto said media, art and design attracts the widest interest and usage amongst the Muslim community in terms of usage of digital services. “There is a general rise in Islamic media entrepreneurship, especially in social entrepreneurship, usually for the cause of Islamic education and spreading an awareness and understanding of what Islam is all about,” he said.

Demand for this has been heightened in the 21st century from geopolitical events, which have tarnished the reputation and image of Islam, Saguto said, and because much of conventional media and news reports are around negative events. “A number of Muslim scholars are also using digital, many of which have their own channels on YouTube, and pages on Facebook.”

Globally, the modest fashion sector is estimated to grow by more than 10 percent per annum from $100 billion in 2013 to more than $200 billion by 2019, Saguto said.  “That’s a very large market and healthy growth for any sector in general.” Saguto said online commerce and social media have been the main drivers behind the rise of modest fashion.

Saguto said, quoting the report, mainstream Islamic banking, generally covering retail Islamic banking and investments, given the fast paced growth of the industry, digital services require customized ICT solutions to support Islamic banks and Islamic banking processes. “Technology required here involves supporting ICT infrastructure, which forms the back-end banking systems, which can be quite advanced,” he said. 

Saguto said there are an increasing number of games being developed in the space, used as a means to teach children about the values of Islam. Additionally, Saguto said there are blogs, such as, that have more than three million followers worldwide, fusing modern day life with traditional Islamic teachings to teach Muslims how to maximize productivity across all dimensions of life: mental, physical and spiritual.