Turkey’s e-commerce volume is expected to hit a record by year-end, the chairperson of the Association of Electronic Commerce Operators said Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to push buyers avoiding shopping malls, online.
The volume had reached TL 190 billion ($24.68 billion) by the end of 2019, Emre Ekmekçi said Monday, stressing that online sales have shown record growth this year due to the pandemic.
Ekmekçi told Anadolu Agency (AA) that 65% growth with a volume of TL 250 billion is estimated for 2020, noting that this figure may exceed TL 400 billion in 2021.
Building on a noteworthy rise over recent years, the shift toward online shopping in Turkey gained significant pace since the country reported its first COVID-19 case in mid-March, after which the country shut businesses, closed borders and adopted weekend stay-home orders.
The government this month reimposed weekend lockdowns as well as night curfews amid a spike in infections and deaths. It has avoided a full lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic to keep the country’s economy running.
The e-commerce volume had reached TL 97.7 billion from January through June this year, a 64% year-on-year increase, according to the Trade Ministry data.
In what is expected to significantly contribute to the volume, Turkish shoppers have revved up traditional holiday purchases as they prepare for a different sort of New Year's Eve this year.
This year the online retail sector has been extra busy, according to sector representatives.
Turkish citizens will be spending the upcoming New Year's weekend under a lockdown as the government recently announced a four-day curfew to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The curfew will run from the evening of Dec. 31 and last until the morning of Jan. 4.
Ekmekçi noted that the number of debit and credit cards used in e-commerce increased by 8 million in March, April and May – the first three months of the pandemic.
“The biggest growth occurred in the supermarket category, growing fivefold since March, compared to the last year,” he said.
“The target is TL 30 billion for this year. We believe we will achieve this figure by the end of the year.”
Noting that consumers should pay special attention when online shopping, he said to check whether websites have SSL certificates and that payment page addresses start with "https://" not "http://".
Growth and investments in the sector will continue in the same way after the pandemic ends, Ekmekçi said.