Despite the slowdown in total imports, imports of automobiles and durable and non-durable consumer goods, of which Turkey is a producer, reached record highs. Import growth in consumer goods exceeded 60 percent in the first nine months, and automotive imports were up by 151% in 9 months.
Although Turkey is a major producer of vehicles, imports exploded as demand for imported cars, especially electric cars, remained strong. Turkey’s imports of consumer goods had reached very low levels, especially during the pandemic. In 2019-2021, imports of consumer goods were below the 2018 level of 25.4 billion dollars. But 2023 was the year of explosion in this item. Consumer good imports increased up by 60.72 percent in the first nine months and reached USD 34.17 billion. This item was USD 21.26 billion in 2022 in the first nine months.
In the January-September period of 2023, passenger car imports increased by 151.05 percent compared to the same period of the previous year. If the increase continues at the same pace, imports in 2023 may even exceed the sum of 2021 and 2022.
Although Turkey is also one of the producer countries in durable consumer goods, the increase in imports of these products was 47.72 percent in the first nine months compared to the same period.
The weight of imports of consumer goods in total imports increased by 4 percentage points compared to the same period of the previous year and reached 12.5 percent. Although the decline in imports of raw materials, whose share in total imports has always been around 80 percent, played a role in this increase, it was noteworthy that the increase in imports of consumption goods was much higher than the overall increase in imports.
When the sub-items of imports of consumer goods are analyzed, it is noteworthy that Turkey’s imports are concentrated in products that Turkey is a producer on a global scale, particularly in Europe. The most important of these are vehicles, clothing, kitchen utensils, white goods and televisions.
Apart from automobiles and durable goods, import growth reached 37.2 percent in semi-durable goods such as clothing and footwear, which Turkey is also a manufacturer and has a foreign trade surplus.