Though commerce intermediaries have been around for centuries and date back to the Ottoman Empire — the first Grand Bazaar was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1460 — the overall concept of such a marketplace has not changed much in 557 years.
Merchant guilds organized trade in the Grand Bazaar, licensed the rules of engagement for merchants, limited what type and how many of each seller would be able to participate and standardized both pricing and operating hours. The marketplace was established as an important trading center to boost Istanbul’s economic development and add to the Ottoman Empire’s wealth.
The Bazaar is still in existence and has held the same physical location in Istanbul for more than 160 years, though it’s declined a bit in prominence. Today’s shopping malls, a modern-day take on the Bazaar, have also seen a rise in distinction and then a subsequent decline amid the climb of digital “bazaars,” the eBays and Amazons and other eCommerce marketplaces of the world.
Read more about the evolution of the commerce intermediary, plus PYMNTS’ Karen Webster’s thoughts on where they’re headed, in this article.
In the meantime, here are the numbers:
12 billion | Amount traditional grocery stores have seen market caps shrink since Amazon’s Whole Foods acquisition
200 million | Active monthly users who turn to Pinterest and other sharing platforms for item and craft ideas
91 million | Number of tourists from all over the world who came to the 2014 Grand Bazaar
70 million | Active users on Amazon; Walmart sees 22 million, according to App Annie data
250,000 | Number of tourists who traveled to the Grand Bazaar to peruse 67 streets of more than 5,000 shops in 1890
160 | Consecutive years the Grand Bazaar has been held in the same location
80 | Percentage of retail business Grand Bazaar merchants say they have lost due to terrorist attacks, military coups, the Russian ban on chartered flights into Turkey and more
60 | Percentage of consumers who start their searches for goods through Amazon
1 | Percentage of Turkey’s GDP shaved down from the decline in tourism