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Optimizing Istanbul Leisure Time

February 2014

By Selcuk Koruturk, Istanbul

The daily hustle and bustle of Istanbul, a city whose unofficial population figures are close to 18 million, is at an all-time high, and time has become an extremely valuable commodity. The daily grind, coupled with our general nature of being keen on our comfort, makes it easy to see why Turks want to spend their off time with minimum hassle. In the past few years, the trend has resulted in an increasing demand by Turkish consumers to have products and services purchased to be delivered to them

Picture this: an empty basket lowered from a window on a piece of string. Enter a grocer who begins placing orders into the basket, which is then pulled up into the apartment. That was actually the method of home deliveries until a little website called ( changed the game. The site has a simple logic. Restaurants register to the site and post their menus online. Users browse to place an order, enter their address, and about half an hour later their order is at their doorstep. At first the site consisted of local kebab stores, but when international chains like McDonald's, Domino’s Pizza and Burger King signed up, it skyrocketed. After a grinding workday, the choice between preparing a meal and ordering in isn’t a hard one, especially for the younger generation. More upscale restaurants, such as Günaydın Steak House and Mezzaluna Pizzeria, were the last line of defense that caved in after they could no longer deny the popularity of the service. The basket is replaced by the Internet as has extended their service to include local grocers and delis now too.

The first Turkish online shopping sites, and, brought the “to your doorstep” concept to the local fashion industry. The response with young women was especially positive. Browsing through a shop requires time and effort compared to browsing through an online catalog, clicking a few links and having it delivered. Boyner was the first department store to make all their items available online through a special site called The concept is gaining such popularity that even Sarar, one of the best men’s formal wear brands, and Beymen, quite possibly the highest priced retail store in Turkey, have jumped on the bandwagon and have made online shopping available directly from their own websites. To draw in even more customers, seasonal sales start a day earlier online than in the actual stores!

Even though Istanbulites love having stuff they want brought to them, they still love to go out and drive around in a city with one of the worst traffic congestion rates in the world. But cars are after all a status symbol, and nowadays small cars are enjoying their time in the spotlight. Lower gas consumption is seen as a wise decision, and new streamlined designs, such as the Clio or Ford Focus, lower the mocking eyebrows that were once raised at people who drove small cars.

For the Turkish consumer, sitting at home and ordering deliveries online is the closest they’ll get to being a sultan on a bed of cushions, clapping his hands and barking, “grapes!” Technology and brands have found a new way to make us feel special in the precious little free time we have.

Retail & Dining
Food & Drink
Fashion & Style
Foodbasket, the new Istanbul way to eat in
Vakko, one of Istanbul's oldest and most elegant fashion houses
Small cars, like the Renault Clio, fill Istanbul streets

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