A new survey by the state-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) released on Friday indicates a rising trend of internet access and e-shopping in Turkey.
Computer and internet usage of individuals from teenagers to people aged 70 and above increased from 61.2 percent in 2016, to 66.8 percent this year. The survey also shows that one out of four internet users are e-shoppers.
Although public internet access in Turkey was launched in 1993, it only found widespread use in the 2000s. In a decade, the internet access rate rose from about 20 percent to more than 60 percent, with a significant surge in subscriptions to internet service providers in a few years. The country launched a new satellite in 2014 that delivers internet to places that are geographically disadvantaged and do not currently have access.
TurkStat figures show that male users outnumber female internet users at 75.1 percent compared to 58.7 percent. Statistics also show that 80.7 percent of households had access to the internet at home, compared to 76.3 percent in 2016, while 78.3 percent of households had broadband internet connections. To promote internet usage, authorities announced earlier this year that Fair Use Point, a quota on internet usage by telecom companies that downgraded connection speeds after users reached a specific number of gigabytes while downloading, will be removed. Users have long complained that speeds drop almost tenfold after they exceed the 50 GB download quota under fair use policy that was originally intended to preemptively prevent malfunctions in connections due to heavy use.
Rising internet usage may also fuel concerns on Internet addiction. A study conducted by the Turkish Green Crescent's academic journal Addicta: The Turkish Journal on Addictions reveals that adolescents fall into a significant risk group for Internet and technology addiction.
Young people between the ages of 12 and 18 are considered at-risk for the addiction, while 3.6 percent of adolescents exhibit risk factors for Internet addiction with 21.8 percent of them on the brink of addiction.
E-government services, meanwhile, were still not very popular among Internet users. Only 42.4 percent of individuals used e-government services, the survey shows. Still, it is a higher proportion compared to only 36.7 percent between 2015 and 2016.
Online shopping also increased from 20.9 percent in 2016 to 24.9 percent, as 62.3 percent of customers bought clothes and sports goods, while 25.3 percent bought furniture, toys and similar products online. Other online shopping involved travel arrangements, food and consumer electronics.
E-shopping with credit cards surged 100 percent in the past three years, according to Commerce Ministry figures that show Turks spent TL 68 billion ($19.3 billion) last year, compared to TL 34 billion in 2013. E-commerce also increased its market share in the retail market from 1.7 percent to 3.5 percent.