For a regional powerhouse with a large and youthful population, Turkey’s mobile marketing and ecommerce sector is surprisingly under-developed, with penetration rate of 52% according to the 2016 figures from EuroStat. With the number of mobile users set to reach 51 million by 2022, there is huge room for growth in this sector.

Turkey’s compound annual growth rate from 2016-21 for retail ecommerce is 13.7%, placing the country above Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Estonia, but below Vietnam, Mexico and South Africa. This growth is however, indicative of the strength of the underlying economy, and the desire of the population to move with the times in terms of retail spaces and opportunities.

The ecommerce market was ranked at EUR 6.5 billion in 2013, jumping to an approximate EUR 10 billion in 2015 (figures incomplete) showing a positive trend upwards, which was expected to continue in 2016. This contrasts when compared with the mobile marketing spend in Turkey, which grew slowly over the period 2013-15 (2.8%, 3.4% and 4.4% respectively). The overall picture is one of a space for growth in all kinds of online touch points for brands to take advantage of, when the figures for penetration, mobile marketing spend, and the overall size of the ecommerce sector are taken into consideration.

Big brands, bigger opportunities

In terms of brand recognition in Turkey, there are a number of big players, ranging from telecoms providers to airlines and retail outlets. However, as with many developing markets, the nation’s biggest companies – Turk Telekom and Turkish Airlines for example – dominate the top positions. These players, for example, have market caps of EUR 2.3 billion and EUR 1.7 billion, respectively, setting them apart from the pack, and highlighting the revenue and brand recognition benefits of international expansion.

What then, does this mean for the consumer? In Turkey, the vast majority of people still make purchasing decisions based on store, shop or showroom viewing (48%), compared with online via website or app (38%), phone (8%), or by other means (4%). These figures show that the growth in Turkish ecommerce will come when online forms of contact improve to a point that they become more appealing for the average consumer. This is especially true when we consider that the majority of people (35%) first saw an advert for the product online, compared to those who saw an advert in-store (12%). 

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