Target customers are individuals between 18 and 35 years old (Montgomery et al., 2015). These are mainly people of Middle Eastern descent and their friends and close ones. Importantly, these may be immigrants, children of immigrants as well as people of other ethnicities. People of the non-Arabic descent are mainly young people who have friends (or acquaintances of the Arabic descent). These people may want to learn more about Arabic traditions or feel the atmosphere of the Arabic world. They also want to understand and share certain values and traditions since they want to be closer to their Arabic friends, partners, and so on.
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The customers are mainly students of such educational establishments as high schools, colleges, universities. At that, these can also be working people who have recently graduated from their educational establishments. It is necessary to note that these two groups share a lot of features in common, as young graduates still have certain habits they developed when in school.
As for the psychological traits of the target customer, this individual is cheerful, sociable and adventurous. The target customer likes relaxing and trying new things. The element of relatedness is essential. Students often become members of certain groups (fraternities, unions and so on), which help them find their own identities (Link, Cawkwell, Shelley & Sherman, 2015). People pertaining to such groups tend to share values, traditions and habits. These people are often ready to take up new habits. The target customer wants to feel a part of a larger group. Remarkably, the need for relatedness is quite high, and it can be satisfied through the smoking experience. Hookah links the smokers through its pipes. It keeps people around itself for a particular period (up to an hour).
Clearly, the target customer is also a seeker of fashionable trends. This is the person who wants to be in fashion, and hookahs smoking is now very popular and quite fashionable. The cultural component is central to the experience. The target customer seeks for experiencing the Middle Eastern culture due to some nostalgic feelings, fashion or the desire to explore. The target customer is interested in exploring the Arabic culture. It is also necessary to add that the target customer spends a significant amount of time relaxing and having parties. A large part of the student’s life is devoted to various social events. Socializing and meeting new people is a common practice for a student as well as the target customer.
As for socio-economic features of the target customer, it is necessary to note that the customer pertains to the middle class (Montgomery et al., 2015). As has been mentioned above, these are mainly students, which means that they have quite scarce resources. At the same time, they tend to spend their money on entertainment rather than paying bills (excluding study-related bills).
As far as the target customer’s dislikes are concerned, they include using and experiencing common and boring things. Since the target customer wants adventures and pleasant experiences, they may feel bored if the experience is not characterized by novelty, specific cultural flavor and so on. The target customer expects to be pleasantly surprised. Clearly, they also want to have good bargain and satisfaction of their expectations (they want to receive what they order).
According to Sathya (2014), the popularity of the hookah is increasing as 18% of high school students report that they smoked hookah during the past year. As has been mentioned above, the target population is the population of the Middle Eastern descent and their close ones. The product is likely to be increasingly popular in California as the Arab population there is considerable, especially in such areas as Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange Counties (California, 2016).
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More so, the Arab population in the US is steadily increasing (immigration is one of the contributing factors). For instance, this population has grown by 47% since 2000, and around 1.8 million Arab Americans are now living in the United States (Brown, Guskin & Mitchell, 2012). Notably, this population mainly settles in urban areas. The multi-billion US tobacco industry is changing as tobacco-free products (e-cigarettes), and shishas are becoming more popular than more traditional products.
Therefore, the market for hookah smoking is likely to expand considerably. One of the examples of this expansion is associated with the number of hookah bars in the area. Thus, there were around 300 hookah bars in Los Angeles in 2007, and now there are more than 400 widely popular spots in the city (Sathya, 2014). The same trend is persistent in other countries in California as well as nationwide. Importantly, the shisha market is mainly represented by the tobacco use in lounge shisha bars. It has been estimated that the major source of information concerning hookah smoking is the Internet. Hence, 45% of shisha smokers share information on their experiences through social networks (Link et al., 2015).
The renting services are already offered in the area (Cleopatra hookah catering, 2016). However, the hookah catering can still be regarded as a significant business opportunity. This is quite a new market. The company will be the follower, which also provides certain opportunities.
For instance, the analysis of available services can help entrepreneurs identify the most valued ones as well as some pitfalls existing in the business. This market is large enough to expand as the growth of the Arab population in the area and the nature of the hookah smoking experience make more people into this experience. Hookah may become an indispensable part of parties and various gatherings. Since people do not need to leave their houses to experience a portion of the Arabic tradition, hookah catering can become more popular, and the market may expand significantly.
It has been reported that up to 30% of the US college students use hookahs (Link et al., 2015). Importantly, higher use is in colleges with fraternities, urban areas as well as colleges with nearby hookah lounge bars (Link et al., 2015).
Therefore, there is a trend to use hookahs without leaving the campus. The convenience and price are primary factors affecting people’s choices, and young adults (former students), as well as college students (living at home) or their friends, may acknowledge the benefits of having parties without the need to find an appropriate and available lounge bar. Bayouth (2015) also notes that some people avoid going to hookah catering lounges as those places are associated with drinking. It appears more natural and comfortable to share the experience with friends at home. Thus, hookah catering services are likely to become more popular.
Bayouth, N. (2015). Marketing identity, negotiating boundaries: Ethnic entrepreneurship in the coffeehouses and narghile lounges of Paterson, New Jersey. In M. Bay & A. Fabian (Eds.), Race and retail: Consumption across the color line (pp. 163-175). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Brown, H., Guskin, E., & Mitchell., A. (2012). Arab-American population growth. Web.
California. (2016). Arab America. Web.
Cleopatra hookah catering. (2016). Web.
Link, A.R., Cawkwell, P.B., Shelley, D.R., & Sherman, S.E. (2015). An exploration of online behaviors and social media use among hookah and electronic-cigarette users. Addictive Behaviors Reports, 2(1), 37-40. Web.
Montgomery, S.B., De Borba-Silva, M., Singh, P., Dos Snatos, H., Job, J.S., & Brink, T.L. (2015). Exploring demographic and substance use correlates of hookah use in a sample of Southern California community college students. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 13(1), 26-37. Web.
Sathya, C. (2014). Nearly 1 in 5 high school seniors have tried hookah. CNN. Web.