Turkey has a comparatively young population of over 70 million and the country's application for EU membership has made it increasingly attractive to foreign investors. The country is undergoing a period of rapid, dynamic development, which has contributed to Swedish Match's impressive success with regard to lighter sales.
"The increased purchasing power of the people of Turkey has helped us, but our success has primarily been due to our analysis of the market, the sales strategy we have designed and our dedicated work in accordance with it," according to Hakan Tuna, Managing Director for Swedish Match International Division in Turkey.
When Tuna and his sales team analyzed market conditions in 2004, it was discovered that lighter distribution was a decisive issue. At that time, Cricket lighters were only sold through wholesalers, but there was a clear need in the fragmented and rapidly changing market to supplement this approach with direct distribution to stores. Tuna built up a Swedish Match sales organization in Turkey and two years later, in 2006, sales of lighters had increased by more than 140 percent.
"Through our sales organization, we familiarized ourselves with the market and built up our own distribution network", says Tuna. "But we retained the wholesaler channel and balancing the two distribution channels, our own sales network, on the one hand, and the wholesalers´, on the other, has been the key to increasing sales.
"Another advantage of the Cricket line, besides quality, is that we are very active in producing new designs, which is important for attracting customers at the moment of sale. For example, Cricket lighters specially designed for the Turkish market are popular, accounting for a full 25 percent of sales here.
"Our goal is to maintain our position as the leading supplier of quality lighters in Turkey. We will succeed because Cricket is such a great product and because of the dedication of our sales team," Tuna concludes.