Global Islamic economy: Muslims to spend 2.9% less on apparel and footwear in 2020 - study

What were the biggest developments in the global modest fashion and apparel industry in 2019-2020? The State of the Global Islamic Economy 2020/21 report from DinarStandard gives a detailed breakdown of the movements in the industry.


  • Muslims spent $277 billion on apparel and footwear in 2019, an increase of 4.2% from 2018.
  • Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia are the top countries by expenditure. 
  • Muslim expenditure on apparel and footwear is set to drop by 2.9% in 2020 to $268 billion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A recovery to 2019 levels is expected in 2021. 
  • Muslim expenditure on apparel and footwear forecasted to reach $311 billion by 2024.

Modest fashion was making a splash on the high streets, online, and on the catwalk until the first quarter of 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the overall $2.2 trillion global fashion industry hard, with sales falling and retailers reducing brick-and-mortar outlets, with some shutting down altogether.

Modest fashion companies also fell victim to the pandemic—such as The Modist, a Gulf-based luxury e-commerce platform, and Hijup UK, which closed after just 18 months of operation. A more subdued Ramadan during the pandemic impacted modest fashion sales, as the holy month is typically the biggest sales period of the year in Muslim-majority countries.

Despite the circumstances, new launches took place, and online sales gained heightened importance, particularly for fledgling and emerging brands. Brands were also keen to expand new product lines, especially sportswear geared at the modest fashion segment.

Alternative sales channels are also being utilized in line with changes in consumer behavior. For example, Style Theory, a designer clothing rental platform in Indonesia and Singapore, raised $15 million in series B funding. Mod Markit-Thrift edition was held during Melbourne Fashion Week, which included a second-hand market for modest clothes.


The industry may have suffered a setback due to the global pandemic but opportunities are expected to open up, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2020/21 report.

Signals of opportunities include:

  • The introduction of omnichannel shopping during COVID-19 could lead to increased revenue growth post-crisis.
  • Revenue developments remain steady but could grow significantly through collaboratins with mainstream retailers and investments. 
  • Social impact development has increased as modest fashion brands improve their sustainability and ethical practices as well as actively support causes through their businesses. 

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