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Bringing Your Side Hustle to Life at the Local Market


Local markets are quickly becoming a staple Sunday activity for young and old folk alike, following their reinvention with miscellaneous gifts, ethical products, and authentic food and drink.

In fact, their popularity has enjoyed huge rise in the last ten years, peaking in 2015. While suffering during the pandemic, their recovery is now back on track for continued growth. In 2022, Google searches for ‘Sunday markets’ in the UK were 13% higher than its 19-year average.

With its growth and wide customer base, the local market could be one of the best places to launch your business. Here, we explore why you should take your side hustle to market and find success in your own home-built stall.

Success stories

Some of the best-known brands started life as small, accessible market stalls. Clothing retailer, Marks & Spencer began as a penny bazaar on Kirkgate Market in Leeds. Meanwhile, Fentimans was sold on the back of a horse and cart, beginning with a botanically brewed ginger beer in 1905. Both have since become established and well-loved brands.

The recipe for their success was simple. Laying their foundations among locals, establishing trust and quality, and expanding while sticking to their values.

Perfect for food and drink

Local markets have a renewed focus on food and drink. You’ll always encounter the traditional greengrocer and butcher, but this focus is on hot, ready-to-eat meals and craft beverages.

Street food is consumed by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide each day, and its popularity is continuing to grow.

So far, 2022 has been the most in-demand year for ‘street food’, according to Google searches in the UK. Average search popularity in 2022 is already 121% higher than the average per year since 2004. The approaching summer months will likely take this lead even higher.

Local markets are an opportunity to show off international cuisines and new food types that people may not have experienced before. For those setting up a food or drink business with something different to offer, the local market may be the best place to do it.

A new type of shopper

Your business’ success will be determined by its audience. And as local markets continue to grow in popularity among Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, aligning your values with theirs will help your brand grow.

34% of Gen Z consumers would be willing to pay 20% or more for an ethical product in the United Kingdom. Ethical products can range from recycled materials to fair products and local produce. Products that help the planet or local community are often considered ethical. Local markets provide you with the opportunity to show off your values easily, putting you in front of shoppers to explain your brand’s positioning in the community.

Getting your product in front of more people is easier with this generation of shoppers. User-generated content that is spread on social media is key for business growth, and local markets provide these tech-savvy shoppers with an aesthetic that is widely sharable. Hashtags such as #SundayMarket and #LocalMarket have over 260,000 and 362,000 posts on Instagram respectively, with many showing off local crafts, food, and drink.

The most credible form of advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. Consumers are more likely to share products from local markets on social media than they would from an ordinary brick-and-mortar store or online catalogue, meaning your product is being posted on multiple digital shelves for more people to enjoy.

As local markets recover from the pandemic and continue to grow, it may be the best place to take your side hustle and turn it into the next big brand. Whether your produce food, drink, art, or other unique products, there’s an audience and a stall with your name on it.

Article courtesy of Fentimans

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