JUST nine years ago, there were 475 automobiles for every 1,000 people in Europe. By 2010, the figure had reached 550. That means that the number of automobiles per 1,000 people in Europe has grown by 15.8 percent in nine years. Turkey grew faster than Europe. In 2002, there were just 70 automobiles for every 1,000 people. Over a period of nine years, this figure increased by 31.4 percent to 92. The meaning of these figures can be summarized as follows: in 2002 consumption in Turkey was 6.7 times less than in Europe but today the difference has been reduced to 5.9 percent. The gap has narrowed but it is still there.
For many sectors, this gap represents “high growth potential”. Everybody is excited by the fact that the Turkish market is unsaturated in so many areas. In any case, these per capita consumption figures are persuading foreigners to enter the Turkish market.
CAN WE CATCH UP WITH EUROPE?
Our research in 26 important sectors and sub-categories shows that per capita consumption in Turkey lags far behind Europe. There are sectors, such as leather, clothing and paint, where it will be very difficult to close the gap but which still have a very high growth potential. In the Internet, bottled water and leasing, Turkey is expected to catch up with European levels of consumption very quickly. In retailing and insurance, the projections are that per capita consumption will reach European levels within 10 years.
For example, per capita leasing utilization stands at €22 in Turkey, while it is €321 in Europe. Even though the gap is 14.6-fold, Financial Leasing Association (FİDER) Chair Bülent Taşar still believes that this gap can be closed within five years.
According to Planet Retail, per capita retail expenditure in Turkey has rise from $1,000-1,500 in 2002 to $3,500-4,000 today. Retail expenditure is expected to double again by 2020. The last eight years in the sector provide us with scenarios about growth not just in retailing but in many different areas.
The figures in the automotive sector are striking. In Europe there are 550 automobiles for every 1,000 people, while in Turkey the figure is just 92. Mustafa Bayraktar, the chair of the Automotive Distributors’ Association (ODD) explains how Turkey, which has the potential to grow six-fold in size, will catch up with Europe as follows: “In order to accelerate car sales, there need to be some significant reductions in taxes. Companies should increase their investments in branding.