Survey 2014-15

The following data comes from the first Mission for Markets survey, collected by NABMA and the NMTF from April to June 2015 and published in a document called "Mission for Markets - A Strategy to Meet the Challenges Ahead." Click here to find out more about this publication.

  • There are 1,226 traditional retail markets in the UK. 796 of these markets are operated by local authorities. In addition, 221 are privately operated, 61 operated by social enterprises, 25 are run by market traders, and 123 have a variety of other management models, such as joint venture arrangements.

  • There are 33,000 market traders in the UK. The sector has a mature age profile - 70 per cent are over the age of 50. 46 per cent of businesses on markets are run by women. 20 per cent of market traders have been in business for over 16 years. 75 per cent of businesses on markets are run by sole traders.

  • Since Markets 21, published in 2009, the retail markets sector has shrunk by £1 billion. For 2014-15, the collective turnover of markets traders in the UK was £2.5 billion. From 2012-13, market traders have increased collective turnover by £400 million. By 2020, NABMA and the NMTF forecast a collective turnover of £4 billion.

  • In past years, many retail markets produced a surplus that supported council budgets. It appears fewer local authorities are able to support this with 33 per cent reporting a decrease in profitability of retail markets. There is an increasing need for investment. In 2014-15, £36.6 million was invested into retail markets.

  • Over 50 per cent of market traders in the UK sell on daily or weekly markets. 20 per cent trade on monthly markets and events, such as festivals , fairs, and shows - taking place from once to four times per year. Over 50 per cent of these markets are described as a 'general' and 13 per cent are described as 'specialist.'

  • 27 per cent of market traders employ someone on a full-time or part-time basis, creating jobs for 21,500 people. Of these 63 per cent are part-time. 1,000 apprentices are working for market traders. This equates to 55,000 people directly employed in the markets and events sector in the UK.

  • 66 per cent of market traders do not sell online with the remainder stating that online sales only account for ten to 30 per cent of turnover. Over 75 per cent of market of market traders do not generate any sales away from the markets, such as a shop on the high street. 38 per cent accept card at the stall. Only 45 per cent have a website.

  • In 2014-15, 25 per cent of market traders sold food, 25 per cent sold household goods, and 33 per cent sold specialist products. Respondents were asked to predict what lines will increase and decrease in 2015-16. Traders expect an increase in hot food, communications, and handmade goods, and a decrease in fashionwear, footwear, and electrical goods.

  • 75 per cent are confident in the longevity of their business, stating an increase in demand for their products, a belief in the quality of their products, and an ability to adapt quickly to local trends as the cause of this confidence. Market traders expect to spend more on stock, pitch fees, and travel in 2015-16.

Click here to read the full results of the first Mission for Markets survey in the Mission for Markets publication (pages 8-11, requires Adobe Flash).

To find out more about this survey, 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..

More Surveys


Don't forget to keep in touch, we really appreciate your feedback and comments.


If you like what we are doing, please share 'Mission For Markets' with your friends.