Syrian clients and retailers discover profit in Istanbul’s second-hand market

Enab Baladi – Mamoun al-Bustani

“We spend most of what we make in the summertime throughout winter.” With this phrase, the Syrian refugee Jumaa summed up his scenario in promoting used family home equipment within the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul.

Jumaa, 23, from the northern countryside of Aleppo, informed Enab Baladi throughout a gathering in his small retailer promoting used family home equipment that he sought refuge in Turkey in 2016 and selected Istanbul as a result of he has kin residing there.

The younger man began promoting used family home equipment as a employee at a Turkish store in 2018. After transferring from one retailer to a different, he was lastly in a position to open his personal within the Sultanbeyli space of the Asian part of Istanbul in 2020.

“I made the choice to open my very own enterprise after I discovered Turkish, as I used to be in a position to communicate and skim effectively, whereas I may write moderately effectively. I additionally mastered the occupation, and I knew the place and the way to purchase used home equipment, and I developed my expertise in coping with clients”, Jumaa mentioned.

After he had his fast lunch (a falafel sandwich and a glass of yogurt-based Ayran), Jumaa continued to speak concerning the second-hand market by which he works in Sultanbeyli, which consists of about 25 Turkish-run outlets, whereas he’s the one Syrian who owns a retailer in mentioned market.

Jumaa has good relations with retailer homeowners available in the market. Whereas talking with the writer of this report, his Turkish neighbor entered and sat at a desk in entrance of his store, teasing him about his behavior of consuming Syrian-style tea as a substitute of Turkish tea.

“Those that have used home equipment they need to promote, usually Turks would come to the market to indicate it to retailer homeowners or would talk with a few of these they’re acquainted with to examine the products at dwelling. On this context, earlier relationships play a job in going to a particular retailer proprietor as a substitute of others. Buy provides additionally play a job in acquiring the products.” That is the commonest method to purchase used home equipment, in line with Jumaa.

Jumaa referred to different sources for buying second-hand home equipment, together with shops situated inside neighborhoods and, in a really small share, on-line purchases (by way of Fb and different web sites).

What do Syrians and Turks purchase?

The costs of used family home equipment fluctuate in line with manufacturers, the date of manufacture, and the intactness of the outer construction, in line with Jumaa, who famous that the typical worth of a fridge, for instance, is 1500 Turkish liras (1 US greenback equals 18 Turkish liras), and the worth roughly applies to the washer. The value of a bed room ranges between 5000 and 10,000 Turkish liras, whereas a visitor room prices considerably between 2000 and 5000 Turkish liras.

Clients coming into Jumaa’s retailer are each of Turkish and Syrian nationalities, he said, explaining that Turks would purchase electrical family home equipment from him (fridge, washer, oven, TV set…), whereas Syrians purchase every thing accessible on the whole, from furnishings to electrical home equipment.

In keeping with Jumaa, Syrians search each used equipment they lack of their properties. “For instance, an individual who’s about to get married would come, and the very first thing on their thoughts is equipping their dwelling with furnishings (bed room, visitor room…), then electrical home equipment, after which different requirements reminiscent of kitchen utensils”.

The younger man mentioned that “Syrians with restricted salaries don’t have the monetary means to equip their properties with new home equipment. As a substitute of shopping for a brand new bed room at 20,000 Turkish liras, they might purchase a used room in good situation at half the worth of a brand new one”.

Younger single individuals are searching for cheap home equipment. Whereas a household would purchase a big washer, a bachelor who lives alone would select a small washer that prices much less.

Used family home equipment on the market in a retailer within the second-hand market of the Sultanbeyli district within the Asian facet of Istanbul – July 2022 (Enab Baladi)

Unstable monetary returns

The enterprise of promoting second-hand objects doesn’t generate constant earnings, Jumaa mentioned, because it varies in line with provide and demand. Throughout winter, the gross sales are down, and “we spend most of what we make in the summertime throughout winter.”

Value hikes in Turkey (inflation) additionally affected gross sales which might be not the identical as a number of years in the past. Individuals have come to want to make use of their furnishings and family home equipment for longer intervals than earlier than; due to this fact, used items on the market are not in the identical abundance as earlier than, i.e., when Turks used to interchange their furnishings nearly yearly.

Jumaa estimated the price of shopping for used furnishings for the house, together with bedrooms, visitor rooms, and electrical home equipment, between 20,000 and 30,000 Turkish liras, whereas shopping for new furnishings prices greater than 100,000. He additionally identified that different small home equipment, reminiscent of kitchen utensils, may also be bought from markets promoting used home equipment scattered in numerous areas of Istanbul.

Solely second-hand marketplaces

There are a number of methods to purchase second-hand items in Istanbul. Along with flea markets often known as İkinci Pazar, there are parallel on-line marketplaces, together with Fb purchasing teams, in addition to specialised web sites reminiscent of Letgo and Sahibinden.

Khadija (38), a Syrian refugee residing within the Samandra district of the Asian part of Istanbul, and mom of three, whose 40-year-old husband works in a textile manufacturing facility, informed Enab Baladi that she goes nearly each Friday to the Uzunçayır district, the place there’s a giant marketplace for used instruments, to purchase home equipment for her dwelling.

She added that she is wanting available in the market for small electrical home equipment (blender, electrical frying pan, small oven…) and for all the required kitchen utensils, noting that she will get these instruments at a less expensive worth than new ones.

The girl makes good use of a house responsibilities supplied by her Turkish neighbor; she installs small electrical components for sure workshops for 50 Turkish liras per day. She says she is saving cash from her family bills together with the proceeds from this enterprise.

In 2016, Khadija arrived in Turkey along with her household from Idlib in northwestern Syria. Via the cash she saves, Khadija acquires home equipment that she doesn’t have and replaces broken ones from the second-hand market.

In keeping with the newest statistics launched by the Turkish Presidency of Migration Administration’s Basic Directorate on 21 July, some 3,650,000 Syrian refugees stay in Turkey.

In keeping with the identical statistical knowledge, Istanbul has the most important variety of Syrian refugees in comparison with different Turkish states, with roughly 550,000 Syrian refugees residing there.


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