Shopping in Turkey for half price

13.08.2018 10:09|Marcin Lipka

"The Turkish currency lost almost half of its value in relation to the zloty. It is a unique moment for tourists to spend their holidays in a shopping craziness," writes Marcin Lipka, Conotoxia Senior Analyst.

Are you flying to the Turkish Mediterranean coast? Or are you currently in Istanbul or Ankara? You can occasionally buy cheap electronics, everyday or luxury goods and extras usually available for a few.

Ipad for less than PLN 1,000

On Monday morning the Turkish currency was worth only PLN 0.55, whereas only a year ago it was about PLN 1.05. This means that the lira has lost almost 50% of its value to the zloty since the end of last summer.

Typically, importers of electronics or luxury goods try to adjust their prices to maintain adequate margins even in countries with unstable currencies. In Turkey, however, a significant part of the weakening occurred in the last three weeks. Prices in the local currency therefore remained stable, but its global value fell very sharply.

One good example is Ipad. Apple's popular gold tablet (32GB of memory, Wi-Fi version) costs on the Turkish Media Markt 1699 lira. It is with the current rate ranging from PLN 0.55-0.58 per lira which means that the apple device costs from PLN 935 to 985. In Poland, the same tablet is worth PLN 1599 - according to the price in a popular market.

Hypermarket bargains and luxury brands

Bargains can be found not only in the case of relatively expensive products. It is also worth going to a hipermarket, where in addition to a favourable exchange rate (e.g. price-competitive sweets), it is also possible to find cheap and popular electronic gadgets.

An interesting offer is Carrefour's promotion. Mi Band 2 by Xiaomi (waterproof pedometer and pulse meter) costs 95 lira in the promotion of the French market, i.e. PLN 52-55. In Poland, this is at least half as much.

Carrefour's shaving equipment range is also interesting. 5 blades with a handle from Gillette cost less than 44 lira or about PLN 25. It is also much cheaper in the popular fast-food. Big Mac in McDonald's costs 12.95 lira, i.e. just over PLN 7 without any discounts.

For those with a larger budget, too, there are probably very good opportunities. Information agencies (e.g. Bloomberg) report that Turkish boutiques are queued long (up to 30 minutes before entering Chanel) by wealthy tourists from Asia or Middle East countries, where prices are 25% below those observed in Europe.

A few more percent can be taken away

For more expensive purchases you can also try to reclaim VAT. Unfortunately, there is no hope that with the help of intermediaries (e.g. Global Blue) we will recover the entire tax. According to the Global Blue calculator, for shopping in the amount of 5000 lira we will get a refund of only 217.5 lira, which is less than 5%.

You should also be careful about the form of payment for the purchases themselves. Normally there is little difference between buying and selling lira in the Turkish exchange offices. Now, however, with incredibly rapid movements, it can exceed even 10%. (i.e. 5% from the average exchange rate).

It is therefore possible to consider the use of a payment card. However, it is worth to check the conditions of currency conversion of your bank and the exchange rate of the seller before the transaction. Visa or MasterCard usually use prices from the last business day preceding the transaction day to settle their accounts (e.g. Tuesday's purchase should be settled with the Monday price).


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