Markets Matter: The Importance of Independent Markets in the UK

The existence of local markets in the UK makes a real difference to our economy, our politics and our social cohesion. A 2015 report commissioned by the Economic and Social Research Council and the National Association of British Market Authorities reveals the many ways in which local markets make a vital contribution to the UK economy.

Markets matter economically

Markets have a significant turnover, amplified by a multiplier effect:

  • The total turnover of retail markets in the UK was found to be around £2.7 billion in 2012.
  • With a multiplier calculated to be roughly 3x, this means that retail markets add ~£9 billion to the UK economy annually.

Markets have a positive impact on the town centres surrounding them:

  • Markets generate footfall increases of around 25% in town centres.
  • Markets increase retail sales – studies show that a significant proportion (55%-71%) of market visitors spend money in other shops.
  • In London, this equates to over £750 million spent in shop-based retailers around markets.

Markets are great sources of new business and employment:

  • Traditional retail markets directly employ around 32,000 market traders.
  • Over 22,000 small & micro businesses operate in UK markets.
  • Markets help make other industries viable (e.g. farms & small local retailers).
  • Markets create entry-level employment & self-employment opportunities for all.

Markets are cornerstones of local economic growth:

  • Markets promote commerce, competition & entrepreneurial activities.
  • Markets provide universal access to affordable goods.
  • Markets attract tourists & tourism-related spending.
  • Markets make commerce adaptable & resilient to changing consumer & economics trends.

Markets matter socially

  • Markets benefit disadvantaged communities.
  • Markets animate & revitalise vacant & under-used spaces.
  • Markets facilitate community social cohesion & inclusiveness.
  • Markets are places of social interaction accessible to all demographics.
  • Markets are crucial to preserving the distinct identity of an area.

Markets matter politically

  • Markets promote sustainability.
  • They offer food security and diversity .
  • They promote community health & well-being.
  • Markets foster innovation, experimentation and education.
  • Markets engage people in local civic society.

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