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The Turkish eCommerce – “The Return of the Ottoman will be virtual”

In one of my last articles, I tried to summarize why I believe Turkey is one of the hottest countries in the internet space. The questions, mails, tweets and all other communication after that article was overhelming. And one of the most asked questions was about the Turkish eCommerce… This is how the story of this article started in my mind.

There are three main reasons why the Turkish eCommerce is, beside the Turkish Online Gaming Sector, the hottest piece in the hot Turkish market. First one is the incredible high credit card penetration of about 60%, making Turkey the second highest penetrated country after UK in Europe. Second reason is the local distribution speed and efficiency. Thirdly, the population is young and loves to consume. I am not getting deeper into these three structural topics as I have already wrote about them, here.

I will base my focus on the top 20 eCommerce Players as they have a good portion of the eCommerce market as well as they drive innovation. I have excluded all classifieds businesses as the bigger ones of them focus mostly on Vehicles an Real Estate.

Lets go back to 2010 October. One year ago, the top 20 eCommerce Players (ranked by Unique Visitors, Comscore Oct 2010) were split into 8 segments: Market Place (1 Player in top 20), General eTailer (1), Private Shopping Clubs (3), Consumer Electronics verticals (6), Price Comparison (5), Books (2), Ticketing (1) and Food (1). Eleven out of twenty players among the top 20 have been either Consumer Electronics Players or Price Comparison sites. The top site was GittiGidiyor (eBay Turkey). The picture below shows the relative share of each segment among the top 20 players (total).

Top 20, Oct 2010

Exactly one year later, in October 2011, the market structure has changed dramatically: Market Place (1 Player in top 20), General eTailer (1), Private Shopping Clubs (8), Consumer Electronics verticals (3), Price Comparison (3), Books (1), Ticketing (1), Food (1) and a Fashion Vertical (1). GittiGidiyor is still leading but the number of Consumer Electronics and Price Comparison players have come down to six (from 11). And, the Private Shopping segment has grown to eight players among the top 20. If you count one of the other newcomers into the Turkish eCommerce top 20, the shoes vertical zizigo, the share of fashion players among the top 20 is more than 40% (in 2010: 16.0%).

GittiGidiyor (eBay Turkey) is doing a great job in keeping the leadership. Hepsiburada has a strong Year-over-Year (YoY) growth and comes close to the neck of GittiGidiyor as never before. Number three is Markafoni. The biggest growth rates in in the last years come from Private Shopping Players, especially Vipdükkan, Limango and Markafoni. One of the major lovebrands of the Turkish eCommerce, Yemeksepeti, continued to stay among the top 20 with a tremendous growth rate of 51% (which is the 7th highest growth rate, and faster than the top 2 players). Same with Biletix which managed to reach 55% growth rate.

The big winner in the Turkish eCommerce is Private Shopping as a segment. Turkey is one of those countries accepting and loving this flash sales offering. The competition is tough. The Private Shopping sites discovered TV ads and started to reach out for new customer segments. And we might face some surprises as Vipdükkan is growing like hell (but from low levels) and has the chance to become the number three in this segment and pushing Trendyol down to number four. Hepsiburada is the big old lady of the Turkish eTailers. If we would do a ranking according the revenues, they would clearly lead the eCommerce. Yes, they are big but are growing in an impressive way: 43% is very respectable for a big player. Vatan is leading the Consumer Electronics Segment. Teknosa and Hizlial are following. And we have six newcomers among the top 20: Five Private Shopping Players and the shoes vertical zizigo. Vipdükkan made the highest new entry.

And here are the top 20 of the Turkish eCommerce. The average growth since Oct 2010 was 60% (Visitors, top 20). All data is from comscore.

My view for the next 12 months:
– The number of Private Shopping Players will get smaller, maybe downsized to 3-5 players among the top 20.
– We will have to expect more Fashion verticals among the top 20.
– Gittigidiyor and Hepsiburada will have a hard fight for the pole position. They will not be alone.
– Turkish eCommerce companies, following Yemeksepeti and Markafoni, will start expanding outside of Turkey. The return of the Ottoman will be virtual.
– Everything can happen anytime. Madness? This is Turkey!

71 Responses
  • MobilAdam
    Kasım 25, 2011

    Although I agree with almost all of your points, unfortunately credit card penetration in Turkey is not 60%, there are around 18 million credit card owners in Turkey. And IMO alternative payment systems will accelerate the market, and these are rapidly developing in Turkey too.
    BTW I am surprised by the growth rate of Yemeksepeti in 2011. People were so focused on private shopping, I believe no one noticed that.
    Thanks for the article and thanks for sharing more than any other business man

  • Sina Afra
    Kasım 25, 2011

    @mobiladam – I rely on the data of BKM which is the Bankalar Kart Merkezi – the association of 13 state and private banks. The source is here

  • Cenk
    Kasım 25, 2011

    I’m confused. Why deaily deal sites are not on the list ? They’re not getting enough unique visitors to be listed ?

  • Hakan YALÇIN
    Kasım 25, 2011

    Sina bey ‘ inde şu sıralar belirtmiş olduğu gibi 2012 senesi dikey pazarı hareketlendirecek diye ümit ediyoruz.

  • Natali Yeşilbahar
    Kasım 25, 2011

    Thanks for great article.

  • Sina Afra
    Kasım 25, 2011

    @Cenk, I have excluded them as they are primarily advertising players, even they all started to sell products.

  • Cenk
    Kasım 25, 2011

    They all are modern brokers.

  • Barış Yılmaz
    Kasım 25, 2011

    sahibinden neden yok listede ? market place kategorisinde değil mi ? yeterince ziyaretcisi var diye biliyorum ?

  • Sina Afra
    Kasım 25, 2011

    @barıs yazıda yazdıgım gibi, onları analizin dısında tuttum: ” I have excluded all classifieds businesses as the bigger ones of them focus mostly on Vehicles an Real Estate.”

  • Goktug Okan Oguz
    Kasım 29, 2011

    Thanks for this great article. It seems that Zizigo, yemeksepeti and kitapyurdu are different in the sense that are the only verticals in this list (excluding consumer electronics sites). What’s your evaluation on verticals, vertical private shopping sites and do you think they can move up in the list using their “focus”?

  • Kerim Doğan
    Aralık 1, 2011

    Thank you for this sharing, title is very effective!

  • Starchild Sheos
    Aralık 6, 2011

    Very informative post.
    We started with the distribution of the famous British brand children shoes the Starchild shoes in Turkey last year, and the online presence in February. The online sales part has been a big success. We do not get a huge traffic but our optimisation (sales) is high compared to the latter.

    I must say that many credit card holders still do not feel safe purchasing over the internet in Turkey, although the system is more safe than in some countries for instance the UK.
    The industry should/must invest in reassuring these potential customers especially brands such as Visa, Master Card…Their marketing/branding approach in Turkey is almost the same as in UK, which I think is wrong. Here it should be more about the reassurance rather than experience.

    Best Regards,
    Selma Kapetanovic Yildirim

  • Ilhan Bagoren
    Aralık 16, 2011

    I would have assumed that should have belonged in this article. Is there a reason?

  • Ilhan Bagoren
    Aralık 16, 2011

    ooops, I saw the answer (for sahibinde) above later. I read the original article somewhere else, and wrote the comment here, without reading other comments.

    Aralık 26, 2011

    thanx for the effective artical

  • Ecommerce Design
    Ocak 11, 2012

    Not only Turkey but the e-commerce is getting large popularity across the world. This may be due to increasing number of internet savvy users. Anyways, it’s really great to know that Turkey has large number of young population that itself is a big factor of increasing use of e-commerce.

  • Yasin Celik
    Ocak 15, 2012

    Thanks for sharing these great information. This will definitely help all to move strategically.

  • E-Ticaret
    Şubat 3, 2012

    Good article. By the way, credit cards and bank cards are almost 60 million in total.

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    Mart 8, 2012

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  • Anonim
    Mart 15, 2012

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  • Elvan
    Mart 21, 2012

    Merhaba Sinan Bey,
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    Mart 26, 2012

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  • Alihan
    Mayıs 19, 2012

    Neden Osmanli? Beni rahatsiz etti bu baslik.

  • Guest
    Ağustos 2, 2012

    Would you think of writing 2012 version of this article in November?

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    Ağustos 31, 2012

    The Turkish eCommerce – “The Return of the Ottoman will be virtual”
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