Not without a phone

Not without a phone

Turkey is known to have a tech-savvy young population. We like to use our mobile phones a lot. A new research has underlined that we talk about 441 minutes on average every month on our mobiles, whereas the average in the EU is only 160 minutes. We are not only attached to our phones for its functions but also because we have emotional ties to them. A new survey by MasterCard found that we would rather put our hands in a jar full of spiders rather than go out without our phones. Some of the respondents even said that they could go long without seeing their spouses but cannot do the same when it comes to their phones.

So, one could think that we Turks do most of the essential and important stuff with our phones. You might think that without our phones our productivity would fall and the country would tumble into an economic crisis. But you do not need to worry. Because even though we spend around six hours online, we rarely use it for work. We are most of the time either watching videos on YouTube or socializing through various social media platforms. According to MasterCard, Facebook is still the most popular social media outlet in Turkey. And when only women are taken into account, then Instagram takes the lead. The most frightful thing that could happen in the digital world is to lose photos, according to one third of the respondents of the MasterCard survey. We are a very visually-oriented society.

We love using our phones, but when it comes to online shopping, that’s a whole different story. The survey underlined that there is still skepticism over internet security among a vast majority of people. The MasterCard report suggests that biometric solutions help to ease that fear because there is no need for a password and people believe that the biometric readings cannot be duplicated. So if you want to flourish as an e-business in Turkey you really should look at biometric payment options.

A similar pattern can be seen across Europe. Concern about fraud is the primary barrier to online payments. The trend is consistent across many countries, although concern about fraud is highest in Greece, with 71 percent of people stating that it is an issue, while 64 percent of Spanish people also feel fraud is a problem. The lowest level of concern about fraud is in Denmark, with less than half of people surveyed, 46 percent, stating that it is a barrier.

The MasterCard Impact of Innovation Study surveyed 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East about their attitudes toward digital technology. It found that while in Africa and the Middle East over 70 percent said they were ready to pay with their smartphones, Western Europeans have some way to go; only two fifths - 38 percent – said they would. However, when asked about new ways to pay, consumers across all regions chose their smartphone as an alternative to the plastic card. More than a quarter - 27 percent - in Russia, Turkey and Ukraine call themselves “eager promoters” of new technology. People in the Middle East and Africa demand more innovation in all areas.

Therefore, as I wrote before, if you are in any type of e-business in Turkey you cannot ignore safe and innovative mobile payment systems.

For example, Masterpass and Getir simplify the shopping experience. Now, they allow consumers to shop any time with any device without leaving the Facebook Messenger chat screen. I hope these kinds of creative solutions will flourish so that the digital transformation of industries would happen faster in Turkey.

Opinion, Ersu Ablak,