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Companies eye the non-consumers

There are approximately 17 million households in Turkey. Of these, 14 million households do not have a dishwasher, 16 million have no computer and another 16 million do not have an air conditioner....

Son Güncelleme: 01.02.2007

There are approximately 17 million households in Turkey. Of these, 14 million households do not have a dishwasher, 16 million have no computer and another 16 million do not have an air conditioner. Seven million of these households have no contact with a bank. As the figures show, a large number of people in Turkey are not consuming. In fact, companies have been aware of this section of society for years. Experts believe that the increase in per capita national income will enable these people to begin consuming and that the number of those who do not consume will rapidly fall.

There are 30.7 million people over the age of 15 in Turkey living in urban areas. According to study by TGI Turkey, in the last 12 months 29.2 million of these people did not board an aircraft and 20.9 million did not take a holiday. A total of 11.3 million of this population do not have a mobile telephone, while 24.5 million do not have a computer. There are 21 million without a bank account and 23.9 million without a credit card. In fact, the statistics tell the whole story. According to the figures, a significant proportion of this population do not consume and can be called ‘non-consumers’. The list of reasons why they do not consume is headed by low income levels. When income falls, the number of products consumed also decreases. Local practices such as keeping savings under the mattress and beliefs such as hand washing being cleaner than a dishwasher also create an obstacle to consumption. Another factor is the low rate of working women. Women who have no income consume less. For example, 49.8 percent of the women in the urban population have no mobile telephone, 70.8 percent do not have a computer, 92.4 percent do not have a bank account and 84.5 percent do not have a credit card. But, whatever the reasons, the size of the non-consumer population in Turkey means that it is vitally important for companies.

Seven Million Households Have No Contact With Banks
We see that in some basic sectors and categories the size of the non-consuming population reaches considerable proportions. One of these is banking… According to calculations by Akbank, at least seven million households do not use any banking services. In addition, the ‘partly banked’ group in the 3rd and 4th income groups, which account for a 37 percent share of annual household disposable income constitute broad customer base. But even those people in these groups who have bank accounts or credit cards do not utilize a broad range of services. This group comprises 6-7 million households.

Akbank Chief Economist Dr. Fatma Melek says that the reasons for these seven million households do not utilize the full range of banking services are insufficient income and savings and the fact that these households live in closed economies. To a significant degree, these people have not severed their links with agriculture, have low incomes and no possibility of savings. Fatma Melek says: “In general, in all regions, those households without any contact with banks tend to be in the two lowest 20 percent income segments of the population.”

High Rate Of Uninsured
A signficiant number of people in Turkey have no insurance. According to information from Axa Oyak, the figures for October 2006 show that, when it comes to compulsory insurance, the uninsured rate is 16.79 percent in third party traffic insurance and 80.4 percent in DASK. The proportion of the uninsured in fully comprehensive insurance, which is the locomotive of the sector, is 75 percent, rising to 92 percent in the fire branch.

Insurance rates in the life and health branches are very low. Only 1 percent of the population has health insurance while in the life branch it is 8 percent. Axa Oyak Sigorta Marketing Manager Mete Aygüven says: Three quarters of the population of Turkey have no grasp of the concept of insurance.”

Aygüven says that there has been no development in terms of the middle-aged population with economic resources becoming familiar with insurance. He believes that the structure of the economy, income levels and religious considerations have a negative impact on people taking out insurance. Aygüven says that, as a result, he thinks that the sector has considerable potential.

Half Of Turkey Has No Mobile Phone
According to the TGI Turkey Study for 2006, 37.1 percent of the urban population of Turkey aged 15 or over does not use a mobile phone. This means that 11,385,000 people do not have a mobile phone. According to the figures supplied by Tekofaks Communications Marketing General Manager Serhat Tatlı, more than 40 percent of the Turkish population does not have a mobile phone.

Serhat Tatlı attributes the fact that the rate of mobile telephone usage is so low to the high costs resulting from the heavy tax burden. These high costs prevent those people with limited purchasing power from buying mobile phones. Serhat Tatlı explains: “In addition, the older section of the population do not think of buying a mobile phone because they believe that using the technology is difficult or that they don’t need the technology. Moereover, a significant proportion of the population do not use mobile phones because they are still too young.”

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