The following data comes from the third Mission for Markets survey, collected by NABMA and the NMTF from May to July 2018. Click here to read the full results.

  • There are 1,173 markets in the UK, which includes traditional and specialist markets. 32,400 businesses trade on these markets. There are 9,000 events traders. In 2017-18, traders on markets and events collectively turned over £3.1 billion - an increase of £200 million year on year since 2012.

  • 82 per cent of markets are run by local authorities. 10 per cent are operated by private companies. Remainder are made up of trader cooperatives, social enterprises, and community interest companies. Figures signify an increase in markets run by the public sector.

  • Operators invested £50 million to improve markets in 2017-18. £37 million came from seven local authorities - Barnsley, Doncaster, Leicester, Preston, Scarborough, Tameside, and Warrington.

  • 41 per cent of market operators report a decrease in footfall, traders, and stall income. Average occupancy on traditional retail markets is 77 per cent. But 93 per cent of market days have stayed the same or gone up. This could indicate an oversupply of stalls.

  • 81 per cent of businesses in the sector are not registered for VAT. In terms of the legal structure of businesses in the sector, 77 per cent are sole traders. The application of VAT on market rents is mixed across the UK. NABMA and the NMTF maintain that renting a stall on a market must remain exempt from VAT.

  • Trading models of businesses are diverse. 55 per cent of market traders stand events. 33 per cent of events traders stand markets. 53 per cent have a website - but just over half are e-commerce enabled. More market traders take card than ever before!

  • 21 per cent of SMEs are led by women in the UK (UK Government, 2017). But on markets and events, 48 per cent are run by women! The sector is clearly well above average for the number of businesses run by women.

  • Traders are confident in the longevity of their business. In 2018-19, they expect a boom in hot food, healthcare and beauty; and a bust in electricals, books and stationery. Turnover will gradually go up over the next two years!

Click here to read the full results.

To find out more about surveys delivered through the Mission for Markets campaign, contact Chris Savage, Projects Manager, NMTF, on 01226 749 021 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Previous Surveys

  • 2015-16 (NABMA and the NMTF)
  • 2014-15 (NABMA and the NMTF)
  • 2012 (Retail Markets Alliance) - PDF
  • 2011 (Retail Markets Alliance) - PDF
  • 2009 (Retail Markets Alliance) - PDF



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