Türkiye flag Türkiye: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Türkiye


Internet access
Turkey, with its population that exceeded 80 million for the first time in 2017, is one of the most populated countries both in Europe and in the Middle East and has one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in its region (growth rate 30% on average in recent years). The Internet penetration rate rose to 69.6% in 2017 with the number of internet users at 56 million in 2017, as opposed to 49 million in 2016 (Internet World Stats). While this rate is lower than in most countries in western Europe, it is on par with the rate in Balkan countries. Nonetheless, the sheer size of the Turkish population puts the Turkish internet market among the top five in Europe after Russia, Germany, UK and France (8.5% of total users in Europe). Furthermore, Turkey has one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in Europe and an average user checks their phone every 13 minutes according to a Deloitte survey (the highest rate in Europe). Google.com.tr is by far the most popular search engine in Turkey (around 98%) with Yandex accounting for the remaining market share.
E-commerce market
The e-commerce market in Turkey has recorded one of the highest growth rates in Europe in recent years (30% on average). However it remains smaller than in most European countries with similar populations. The market maintained a steady pace and was forecast to have reached over US$ 6.17 million in 2017, and is expected to grow to US$ 54 million by 2023. According to the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUBISAD), e-commerce penetration rate was 3.5% in 2016, which is significantly lower than the global average (8.5%). Currently, e-commerce accounts for 3.5% of the total trade sector in Turkey. Turkish e-commerce was worth an estimated EUR 8.6 billion in 2017, according to TUBISAD. In 2018, it is expected to grow between 30% and 35%, aiming to raise its revenue to over US$ 11.5 billion by the end of the year. The e-commerce market growth is expected to be fuelled to a great extent by mobile, with Turkey having one of the highest smartphone penetration rates in Europe. At least half of all online sales are forecast to be made through smartphones by 2021, according to TUSIAD. Cross-border shopping is not as popular as in other European countries, with Turkey not being a member of the European Union, even though the tax value free limit for import shipments was reduced to US$ 25 per purchase early 2018. While first e-commerce retailers Hepsiburada and Gittigidiyor launched their services as early as in 1998 and 2000 respectively, online shopping only took off after 2008, as online clothing stores became widespread. The top ten e-commerce retailers account for nearly 50% of all online shopping, while purchases on the websites of traditional retailers and SMEs comprise 30% of total sales. The imminent launch of Amazon Turkey in 2018 is expected to transform the local e-commerce market and increase competition considerably.
E-commerce sales and customers
Despite a significant Internet user population (around 56 million people), only 33% of internet users shop online, which remains considerably low compared to the European average (66% of internet users). Online shopping is among the last reasons that lead Turkish individuals to go on the internet, with only 20% of internet users mentioning online shopping, while the rate is 82% for social media use. On the other hand, the amount spent per online purchase is comparable to Europe and the United States, as Turkish consumers spend US$ 71 on average each time they use an e-commerce website (US$ 86 in the US, US$ 72 in Europe), according to the Turkish Interbank Card Centre. Desktop computers and laptops are the main medium of online shopping during weekdays between 9:00am and 4:00pm while most users turn to mobile devices outside these hours. 76% of online shoppers make online purchases using a computer, while only 16% use their smartphone to shop, and 3% do it via tablet. As for payment methods, 59% of Turkish e-shoppers purchased online using credit cards, while 37% of them did so with mobile payment, 2% prepaid cards, 1% e-wallets and 1% bank transfers. 56% of Turkish internet users choose e-commerce over traditional retail due to lower prices (the world average being 46%), while only 36% choose for its convenience (world average 47%). Turkish consumers respond well to special e-commerce promotions (such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Singles' Day), which boosted online sales as much as 500% in 2017. Due to low tax value free limit for imports (US$ 25 per purchase), only 19% of Internet users choose foreign websites when shopping online, according to a PayU research. The leading product category is electronics & media, accounting for a US$ 2.26 billion market share, followed by furniture & appliances, which generated US$ 1.18 billion in sales in 2017. By 2021, electronics & media is expected to still be the most purchased online category, with an estimated value of US$ 3.34 billion, followed by furniture & appliances, expected to be worth US$ 2.11 billion.
Social media
As of January 2018, there were 51 million active social media users in the country, out of which 44 million access social networks using mobile devices. YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Twitter are among the most popular social media networks in Turkey, and their popularity has been increasing gradually in recent years. Facebook has 51 million users, out of which 31,6 million are under 34 years old - 19,6 million male, and 12 million female. Instagram has 33 million users in Turkey - of which 59% are male and 41% female - accounting for 41% of total population, the second highest rate in the world after Sweden. However, Turkish social media users spend most of their time on YouTube (55% of users say they are the most active on this platform according to a Hootsuite survey). Turks spend an average of 7 hours and 9 minutes online everyday - the 13th highest in the world - out of which 2 hours and 48 minutes are spent on social media. Among professional networks, LinkedIn is the only one that stands out with around 5 million users (nearly 1% of total LinkedIn users worldwide). As of August 2018, the most popular social media platforms in the country by market share were Facebook (36.65%), YouTube (22.09%), Twitter (16.3%), Pinterest (13.3%), Instagram (9.53%) and Tumblr (0.93%).

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Latest Update: April 2023

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