Turkey’s youthful population – a quarter was born in the 21st century – is set to drive the country’s online sales, according to Mehmet Nane, general manager, Carrefour Turkey.
Speaking at The Delivery Conference, organised by MetaPack, Nane said there was huge potential to expand Turkey’s internet business from its current 1% share of total sales (UK: 13%, US: 9%, France: 7% and Germany: 5%).
Demographics will be a key driver, he said. Half of the 76m strong population is under 30 years old, 35% is under 20 years old and youth is consuming life from the internet.
“It is a very, very young country,” said Nane.
According to Nane, youngsters don’t have much money but when they do, they buy from the internet.
“They don’t have an income stream at the moment but when they do the potential is going to be there,” he said.
Turkey has a reported 36.5m internet users (many via mobile), ranking it fifth in Europe but the highest number of Facebook users at 32m. Further, 10m consumers spend money online and 73% of them are aged under 35 years old.
“That 1% must increase as the young population starts to earn its own money,” Nane told delegates.
A strong economy – growing GNP and exports – and good logistics will fuel internet growth further, said Nane.
Two-thirds of online sales are currently generated by electronics but that share is expected to spread to other sectors.
Carrefour, which has a joint venture in Turkey with Sabanci Holding and operates 244 stores with 7,000 employees, serving 90m customers a year, established an online business in March 2012.
Nane reported it achieved 20m TL in its first year and 120m TL last year. It is targeting 360m TL this year and to become Turkey’s second biggest internet player.
Amazon is not currently present in the market but eBay is although Nane said “second hand is not that strong in Turkey”.
The trend to showrooming, which is prevalent in the UK, is not apparent in Turkey either. Consumers prefer to check prices online but buy from a store. “When they pay the money, they want to receive the product and in an unopened box,” Nane told delegates.
Security fears and widespread credit card usage – Turkish consumers often choose to make a payment with two cards to spread out the installments – can also favour shop-based buying, he said.