The volume of e-commerce in Turkey has reached 18.9 billion Turkish liras (6.34 billion euros) in 2015, after it increased by 35 percent in 2014 compared to the previous year. E-commerce in Turkey now represents 1.6 percent of all its retail business. Country’s economy is in a period of relatively slow growth, while the e-commerce volume showed a strong increase in the share of retail spending. However, e-commerce in Turkey is still not at the desired level. Turkey has an increasing volume at e-commerce. [2]

Turkey's recent economic growth provides a convenient environment for sectors to evolve, parallel with sector-based improvements around the globe. Approximately 12,000 e-commerce websites operate in Turkey. Three main e-commerce players dominate the Turkish e-commerce market:

  • pure players aiming to create their own brands;
  • private shopping clubs providing discounts or promotions and enabling their consumers to reach designed products;
  • platforms putting up products or services for sale with special discounts from time to time. [3]

In Turkey, cash on delivery is the most preferred payment method, accumulating 75% of the e-retail activities. Demand for international consumer products (including long-tail items) is growing much faster than in-country supply from authorised distributors and e-commerce offerings. Companies like Square1 offer payment options suitable for local markets. [6]

Market size and growth

Online retail in Turkey is expected to see an annual growth of 15.8 per cent in constant value terms by 2017, 107 per cent in total, reaching a market value of $6.6 billion, according to global market research company Euromonitor International. On-going technological development, Turkey’s growing population and a sustainable rise in online shopping is expected to continue to support the rapid expansion of Turkey’s e-commerce sector. [4]

The research company estimates Internet usage to rise 27.5 per cent between 2012 and 2017, driving e-commerce. The market penetration of smartphones is expected to increase by 124.4 per cent between 2012 and 2017.

There are currently around 40 million Internet users in Turkey (53% of the population), which in the European ranking of countries with the highest number of internet users puts Turkey in 5th place, just after Germany, Russia, the UK and France. Half of the population is under 30 years old and actively use social networks (Turkey has close to 33 million Facebook users, ranking six in the world). That, along with an enthusiastic fervour for business enterprise, makes Turkey the ideal country to promote e-commerce. In 2012 total B2C e-sales has reached €5.4 billion, over 50 per cent up against 2011

The Turkish youth population is increasingly technologically literate and urbanised, having grown in the Internet age and in cities, unlike their fathers. This trend is exacerbated by Turkey’s growing wealth, allowing more people to by luxury goods, such as smart phones and PCs. With the expansion of Turkey’s GDP per capita by over ten per cent in real terms between 2007 and 2012, the future looks bright for Turkish e-commerce.

E-Commerce Models in Turkey

The most commonly used models in the e-commerce market are "B2C" (i.e. Business to Customer) and "C2C" (i.e. Consumer to Consumer). According to the Global and Turkish E-Commerce Market Report, 70% of the total domestic internet economy is based on consumption.

Turkish internet users are the youngest in Europe and this young group of internet users' interest in e-commerce results in a growth for B2C commerce. In 2012, the total disbursements in B2C model e-commerce operations reached TRY 15.3 billion, corresponding to 51% of the total online disbursements. Travelling and plane ticket purchases constitute 25% of total online shopping disbursements. This is followed by insurance, consumer products, telecommunication and direct marketing. In 2013, sales in the B2C model increased by 40%12.

According to a survey conducted by the Turkish Statistics Institute, the product group with the highest volume in online sales in 2012 was clothing and sports equipment, with a ratio of 44.4%. This group of products was followed by electronic devices, with a ratio of 25.5% and furniture with a ratio of 21.2%.

According to a report of TÜSİAD, the "B2B" model is less commonly used in the Turkish e-commerce than the C2C model. Although well-known companies, such as Migros and Hepsiburada are currently using the B2B model, the use of e-commerce is not common among small and medium sized enterprises. According to the report, the lack of trust in e-commerce, labor force, financial resources, technical infrastructure, know-how and high application expenses prevent B2B e-commerce from becoming widespread among small and medium sized enterprises. Although progress in the B2B market is slower than expected, according to the data provided by IDC Corporate, the market grew by 28% within the last four years.

Closures

Though the sector has witnessed tremendous growth and is expected to grow, a lot of e-commerce ventures have faced tremendous pressure to ensure cash flows. But it has not worked out for all the e-commerce websites. Many of them like Groupon amongst others had to close down. [5] Also, many small scale e-commerce website close down in 2015.