Struggling Economy Helps Flea Markets

While some shoppers may be venturing back into traditional stores, others continue to make flea markets and swap meets their favorite places to pick up unusual items. Despite an economic recovery that is finally taking hold, over 90% of flea market managers say they are seeing business conditions that are the same or better than conditions they experienced a year ago. And, to maintain their edge over the competition, more managers are turning to traditional advertising.

To gauge the outlook for this industry, Sumner Communications surveyed both flea market managers and vendors. Managers often also manage booths in their markets so they have the unique perspective of understanding all aspects of this industry. They cite their biggest challenges as:

  • Attracting qualified vendors
  • Attracting traffic
  • The economy
  • The weather

One way to generate interest is to advertise, a practice used by 93% of managers. The favorite formats for flea markets are newspapers (79%), flyers (76%) and TV (18%).

These advertising practices are especially important to vendors who set up booths in the markets and want:

  • Traffic 97%
  • Low-​cost rental 64%
  • Convenient locations 52%

The surveyed revealed that about 25% of flea markets report average traffic of between 1,000 and 5,000 daily visitors. They are not all about used goods, either. Consumers are purchasing new gifts/​novelties, fashion accessories and apparel/​footwear at these locations. To generate more interest and excitement, flea markets are also considering the promotion of more flash sales and to do that, they’ll be increasing their advertising.

[Source: U.S. Flea Market Business Booming. Fleamarketzone​.com 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 4 Sept. 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.