COVID-19 Recovery Survey – UK Markets and Events

The NMTF has undertaken a major survey to understand how market, street, and events traders in the UK are recovering from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

422 people contributed to this survey. The NMTF gives thanks to every market, street, and events trader across the UK who took the time to take part.

Market and Street Traders

  • 27,300 market and street traders in the UK; a reduction in numbers of around 5,000 since the Mission for Markets survey in 2018 (click here)
  • Most market and street traders are sole traders. 60% of market traders sell on outdoor markets. 43% of street traders are licensed to trade on outdoor markets.
  • 39% of market traders received a grant through the business rates system. Only 28% received a discretionary grant. 42% were supported by SEISS. 49% of market traders received up to £10k.
  • 39% of street traders received a grant through the Local Government Discretionary Grant Scheme. 54% were supported by SEISS. 50% of street traders received up to £10k.
  • 28% of market traders and 25% of street traders have received no financial support at all from any of the government-backed financial support schemes.
  • 62% of market traders had their rents/fees waived for Lockdown 1, but 25% had to pay as normal. Since reopening, 56% of market traders have had to pay rent at pre-lockdown levels as normal.
  • 65% of market traders have not received any additional business support from market operators since reopening. 20% report that market operators have increased promotions.
  • Market and street traders expect turnover to be low in 2021. 59% of market traders expect to turnover less than £25k. 5% of market and street traders expect to close their businesses.
  • Confidence in the sector is depressed. 60% of market traders are positive about the future of the sector. 79% of street traders claim not to have a say in any local decisions that affect them.
  • 84% of market traders feel valued by their local community and 62% – the market is the main independent offer in their town or city. 74% say more can be done to attract new traders.

Events Traders

  • Most events traders are sole traders. 31% are a partnership or a limited company. Events traders have not diversified – selling on events is the main way they make a living.
  • The most popular events are arts and crafts fairs; food festivals; antiques and collectibles fairs; and historic, retro, and vintage fairs.
  • 46% of events traders have received no financial support at all from any of the government-backed financial support schemes. Events traders have fallen through the cracks.
  • Only 30% were supported by SEISS. Only 21% received a grant through the business rates system. Only 12% received a discretionary grant from their local authority.
  • 31% of events traders have not received any booking fees back from events organisers who have cancelled or postponed events in 2020. 46% have been refunded less than £1k.
  • 65% of events traders claim that all their events in 2020 have been cancelled, so they have been unable to trade on events at all this year. They acknowledge this is no fault of the organiser.
  • Events traders expect turnover to be low in 2021. 69% expect to turnover less than £25k and 18% of events traders expect to close their businesses.
  • Confidence in the sector is at rock bottom. 60% are negative about the future of the events industry in the UK. 56% of events traders expect to trade at less events in 2021 than in 2020.
  • But events traders are adapting. 26% and 17% have launched social media accounts and websites, respectively. 17% have begun to trade on their local markets.

If you have a press enquiry, contact Roy Holland, Communications Manager, on publicity@nmtf.co.uk.

Any other questions or comments, contact the NMTF’s support team on support@nmtf.co.uk.