Around Turkish 2,000 jewelry stores closed down last year as a result of falling jewelry spending due to limitations on the number of credit card payments allowed by the authorities and consumers' desire to spend on electronics and vacations, according to sector representatives cited by the Hurriyet national newspaper. “Our sector has seen a serious contraction," said Emil Güzeliş, the owner of Turkey’s leading jewelry exporter, Zen Pırlanta. "Some 2,000 of 26,000 jewelry stores were closed down last year. Turkish consumers have now flocked to mobile phones, electronics products or holiday reservations rather than jewelry, which were once quite popular,” he said.
Turkey’s banking watchdog, the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), only began allowing four installments for the credit card payment of jewelry and gold as of last October after a ban on installments that lasted around a year. Jewelry trade representatives had complained about decreasing sales due to the number of installments allowed for jewelry purchases as compared to other consumer sectors, such as electronic goods, where more installments were allowed.
Turkey has also seen a drop in sales to Iraq, Egypt and Russia. The head of the Jewelry Exporters’ Association, Ayhan Güner, said the sector lost some of its largest markets in 2014, such as Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Ukraine and Russia. Turkey’s jewelry exports fell almost 15% on the year in 2015 to around $2.7 billion though gold sales held up, the report added.