The modestwear market has been highly competitive not only on the local front but also internationally, with Muslim fashion expected to reach USD 361 billion a year by 2023. Hijab, the core piece of clothing in Muslim fashion, has evolved and grown into a lucrative fashion market over the years. Online retailing and influencers have driven the popularity of hijab, now featuring on international runways and magazine covers.
The increasing hijab demand has seen thousands of local brands in Southeast Asia competing to offer hijabs in various styles, colours and materials.
As hijab is a huge market for Eid festive season, we reviewed 10 brands in the three segments in Malaysia – premium, mid-market and value, to draw insights on their performance this key season.
Nearly 9,000 data points were tracked over 12-week period up to the week before Eid al-Fitri, from March 11 to June 2, on the following brands’ official e-commerce stores:
- Naelofar Hijab
- Tudung People
- Qaira Hijab
- Benang Hijau
 “Why Muslim Fashion is Taking the Over the Luxury World”, Vice,
 “How the Hijab has Grown Into a Fashion Industry”, The
Conversation, May 2017.
Brand Performance Overview
Overall, all three segments performed well except for the premium segment, which showed a below average sell-out rate of 67% despite having the highest new-in rate. The mid-market segment managed to achieve a slightly above average sell-out at 76%, with the lowest number of new arrivals for Eid. Meanwhile, the value segment, which had the smallest assortment, achieved a strong 90% sell-out with little discounting.
Duck trumped the premium segment with its 98% sell-out rate without any discounting. It launched a few collections during the period, included Pleats, Unity, Chiffon Lace, Borderline and Matte Satin Silk Eid, which contributed to its high sell-out.
In the mid-market segment, Naelofar, with the largest assortment across all segments (3x above average), was a clear winner as it managed to achieve a strong 96% sell-out with little discounting.
Benang Hijau, who had the lowest median price, aced the value segment at 94% sell-out, with all items offered at full price.
Bokitta, with the smallest assortment across the segments performed poorly (8% sell-out rate) despite offering more than half of its assortment on discount.
Sugarscarf and TudungPeople also had more than half of their assortments on discount yet still failed to deliver strong sell-outs.
Brand Performance Overview (cont’d)
New-In vs. Sell-Out Movement
Sell-outs on the normal collections were already high in March before dipping in the second week of April. Eid trade gained momentum back in mid-April, as most brands started to stock up on their Eid collections from then through to mid-May. Naelofar Hijab, Duck, Ariani, Qaira Hijab and Benang Hijau, who launched a few collections during the one month period managed to capture high sell-outs up until two weeks prior to Eid.
In the premium segment, Bokitta performed poorly despite having more than half of its discounted products being offered between 40-79% discount range. However, the brand with cult followings – Duck – did not rely on discounting for its success, as no items were offered on discount during the period.
Meanwhile, more than 80% of TudungPeople’s discounted items were only concentrated on the 10-19% discount range, which failed to push a higher sell-out for the brand. As for Sugarscarf, the highest sell-outs occurred at the 50-59% range, indicating evenly distributed discounts between 20-59% would help to improve its sell-out performance. This strategy was rightly done by Qaira Hijab, which had a positive impact on its performance. However, Naelofar Hijab, which has a massive following, managed to rely less on discounts as its sell-outs occurred mostly at full price.
Subcategory Performance Analysis
Shawls was the volume driver, commanding 36% of the entire hijab assortment, followed by Instant (29%), Square (14%), and Print Hijabs (7%).
During Eid trade, brands were seen stocking up more on Shawls, signalling their core offerings (Chart 4). However, it did not perform as well as Instant and Square Hijabs, as it achieved a below average sell-out rate of 71%.
Instant Hijabs, which was favoured for its effortless and fuss-free features, recorded a 78% sell-out rate but was driven by discounts to push sell-out. This style was greatly led by the mid-market segment, namely Naelofar Hijab.
Square Hijabs, which has grown in popularity in recent years, strengthened its position with both total sell-out and sell-out rate at full price recorded at above average sell-outs. Among brands advocating this style were Duck and Benang Hijau.
Although Printed Hijabs garnered the highest sell-out at 88%, the style seemed to be driven by discounts as it achieved 60% sell-out rate at full price, which was well below average. Besides the usual floral prints, geometric prints were also popular, as seen at Duck and Ariani.
Meanwhile, Inner Hijabs, an essential in hijab-wearing, made up 14% new-in of total assortment with high sell-out at full price (88%). Inner Hijab is a must-have item not only to ensure availability all year round, but also to build up in volume in time for Eid to maximise sales over the festivity.
Each segment understood its consumers by knowing the sweet spot for pricing its products as the concentration of full price assortment and bestsellers lie within the same price band.
Premium brands had a wider price spread, offering hijabs as low as MYR 59 all the way to > MYR 450, which was mostly offered by Duck. However, the bulk of offerings – almost half of the assortments, were priced at MYR 100-150. The bestselling price also occurred within the same price band, which was at MYR 100-150.
43% of total assortment offered at full price from the mid-market segment sits within the MYR 50-100 band, which was the same price band of its bestsellers.
As for the value segment, the sweet pricing for its bestsellers was at the MYR 0-50 price band, which was also the same price as nearly 80% of assortments. Drilling down further, the bestsellers were priced at the higher end of the band, which were around MYR 40-50.
Colour Performance Analysis
Typically, more than half of hijab assortments are made of core colour selections – black, brown, blue, grey, brown and pink. However, screening through the ten brands across the three segments saw a higher contribution of fashion-coloured hijabs during Eid season compared to the normal period.
Of the six core colours, blue took the lead in new-in with 625 SKUs followed by pink, with 486 SKUs. Overall, pink showed signs of missed opportunity across all three segments.
The premium segment had the fewest core colours in its newness. Aside from pink, white and brown showed signs of missed opportunity with 9 and 4 percentage point variance against sell-out, respectively. However, blue indicated signs of overstock as new-in outperformed sell-out by 8 percentage point variance in the same segment.
Meanwhile, the sell-out closely matched with new-in in the mid-market and value segments.
Purple and green in bright shades were the popular fashion colours across all segments. However, purple indicated signs of overstocking in the premium segment, with 4 percentage point variance against sell-out.
The mid-market and value segments were spot on with their fashion colours assortment, as new-in closely matched the sell-out contributions.
Bestselling Hijabs in Pink
As seen on Chart 7 & 8, pink was the bestselling colour among the core colours and was understocked across all three segments. The bestselling pink shades consisted of soft, muted tones such as dusty pink, nude and blush, as depicted in the pie chart below.
Solid colours dominated the bestselling pink items, which were largely driven by Naeofar Hijab. In the case of printed hijabs, Qaira Hijab and Benang Hijau were the contributing brands, offering mostly floral printed hijabs.
Bestselling Hijabs in Blue
Though the core shades of blue usually consisted of dark and navy blue, Eid’s new arrivals and bestselling hijabs saw a greater play of lighter and muted tones of blue. The shades that were well received were more of the fashion colours, including baby blue and icy blue. The core navy blue shade remained a popular choice among consumers during the period.
The bestselling hijabs in blue were mostly driven by Duck and Naelofar Hijab. Minimal embellishments with Swarovski crystals were seen at Naelofar Hijab and Ariani. Printed Hijabs were again driven by Qaira Hijab and Benang Hijau, with florals being the most popular print, followed by geometric patterns as seen at Duck.
Branding Matters: Though there are many elements that play a role in driving sales, branding is just as important in Malaysia’s hijab scene. Hijab is no longer a conduct of faith or modesty, but also a symbol of wealth and status. The lacklustre sell-out performance seen from the majority of the mid-market brands evidenced that merely promoting on price points and assortments is insufficient.
The huge success seen following Duck and Naelofar Hijab is largely attributed to their founders, Vivy Yusof and Neelofa, who have become major influencers and role models of millennials in this region. The brands have built strong cult followings so it was no surprise that Duck’s most expensive scarf to date – the Luxe Chiffon Lace scarf, retailed at MYR 2,500, was sold out immediately within the same day of its launch.
Fashion Colours for Eid: While core colours remain essential in the world of hijab, fashion colours are very important during festivities such as Eid, as it is synonymous to colourful palettes. Lighter shades of blue, green and purple were amongst the popular fashion colours this season, in line with the bestselling colours for apparel.
Pink and white, which are among hijab’s core colours, performed well regardless of seasonality, signalling the colours consumers will continue to look for all year round.
Next Steps for Brands
Review Pricing Regularly: Getting the price right still matters to capture the right audience and ultimately drives sales. Constantly monitoring and reviewing the total assortment and bestsellers’ pricing would help brands spot pricing opportunities.
As hijab purchases increases during the Eid season, implementing the right discount strategy could help clear out old stock as well as push higher sell-outs for the relatively new ones. Understanding which assortment to mark down at which discount range is key, especially at online sites.
Multiple Launches During Eid: Overall, hijab brands were spot on and had similar launch timing for their main Eid collections, which was mostly in mid-April. However, the successes seen at Naelofar Hijab, Duck, Ariani, Qaira Hijab and Benang Hijau were also attributed to their aggressive launches of new arrivals during the Eid.
Having a unique and special Eid collection is still important. Brands should try to provide more options for consumers over the festive season to capitalise on their high spending habits during the period.