FEATURE17 May 2016

All there in black and white

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Asia Pacific Europe Features Impact Retail Trends

Turkey is becoming an increasingly black and white society. Sabine Stork of Thinktank International Research discusses how this is translating into two distinct types of consumer behaviour

Turkish shopping mall crop

In Turkey, political considerations are feeding into economic factors to influence purchasing decisions and social interactions.

The country’s ‘Black Turks’ – predominantly working class, less urbanised and often more pious – are drawn to home-grown brands. On the other hand, ‘White Turks’ – middle-class, more open to international influences and generally more secular – are attracted instead to western goods and services.

While some of this is to do with the regular economics of a developing market, with consumers gravitating to what they perceive to be higher-quality western brands as they grow more affluent, choice has become more and more politicised since the ruling AKP party came to power in 2002.

Black Turk purchase preferences now tend to favour Turkish companies, which have prospered because of their relationships with the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, White Turks are actively eschewing those same brands and turning to rival firms to express political defiance through their retail choices.

Not that any of ...