Turks’ tax free shopping ‘declined 18 pct’ last year compared with 2016
Burak Coşan – ISTANBUL
The total amount of Turkish nationals’ tax free shopping transactions dropped to 113.2 million euros last year from 138.6 million euros in 2016, according to data from Global Blue, which provides tax free shopping and currency processing services.
In 2017, a total of 9.4 million Turkish nationals travelled abroad, up from the previous year’s 8 million, but their tax free shopping expenditures fell by 18 percent on an annual basis.
The Global Blue data provides details of the tax free expenditures of Turkish citizens in 40 countries.
According to the data, Italy captured the largest share in Turkish citizens’ tax free shopping with 23 percent, followed by the U.K. with 22 percent. The shares of Germany and France were 16 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
In Italy, the Turks’ tax free shopping amounted to 26.3 million euros in 2017, down from 31.9 million euros of spending recorded in 2016.
The corresponding figure for the U.K. was 24.4 million euros last year. But the 2017 numbers for the UK were again lower than the 25.2 million euros the Turkish citizens spent on tax free shopping in this country in 2016.
Last year, Germany also saw a decline in the value of tax free shopping by Turkish nationals. In 2017, the figure was 18.5 million euros, down from 25.7 million euros in 2016.
In France, Turks spent 13.9 million euros on tax free shopping in 2017 versus 16.8 million euros in the previous year.
In 2017, the amount of tax free transactions of Turkish nationals in the Netherlands stood at 5.3 million euros, which compares unfavorably with the 6.1 million euros they spent in 2016.
Watches and jewelry most popular
Turks spent most on watches and jewelry abroad. In this category, per capita spending was 2,987 euros on average while they spent on average 944 euros on leather products, bags and accessories. In the category of clothing, per capita expenditure was 437 euros on average.
“Tax free shopping figures for 2017 were also 11 percent lower compared to 2015. Almost all products and brands on demand are now available in shopping malls and shops in Turkey. This easier access to such products is one of the reasons behind the decline in tax free shopping,” Global Blue Turkey chairman Hülya Aslantaş said.
Moreover, services provided by local companies such as alterations, or payment in installments are more attractive in Turkey and those factors may also explain the decline, Aslantaş added, citing the depreciation of the lira against the euro as another cause.
“The Turks are not visiting foreign countries for shopping anymore. They travel for touristic purposes, such as culture, gastronomy, and sightseeing,” Aslantaş said.