Markets Matter: Reviewing the evidence and detecting the market effect

This 2015 report from researchers at the Institute of Place Management, reports findings from a study commissioned by NABMA into the impact of markets on the economic, social, and political health of towns and cities. It identifies the 25 most important reasons why markets matter to places, including generating footfall, employment, and community cohesion, documents the 'market effect', and proposes two types of market town, based on footfall patterns.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This 2015 report from researchers at the Institute of Place Management, reports findings from a study commissioned by NABMA into the impact of markets on our towns and cities. Based on an extensive literature review, analysis of footfall data provided by Springboard, and insights from the IPM’s High Street UK 2020 Project, it identifies the 25 most important reasons why markets matter to places, categorised into the footfall, economic, social, and political effects of markets - a selection of which are summarised below.

Why markets matter to places

Footfall benefits

  • The original footfall research conducted by IPM identified a ‘market effect’ exists.
  • Markets can lead to footfall increases of up to 25% in a place!
  • Mondays – Thursdays, markets can generate a footfall uplift of 15%-27%, compared to those places without a market on.
  • Two distinct types of market town were identified based on footfall data: a 'functional market town' (footfall uplifts in Easter, July, and in the Christmas run-up), and 'dysfunctional market town' (flat footfall with no noticeable peaks).

Economic benefits

  • Markets have direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts, which equate to a multiplier effect of around 3.
  • Markets are a significant employer, with 105,000 people directly employed in the sector in 2008.
  • With low barriers to entry, markets can support innovation and new business ideas.
  • Markets can provide access to affordable goods for consumers.
  • Markets can help to attract tourist visitors.

Social benefits

  • Markets can help people from all backgrounds to come together.
  • Markets can facilitate community cohesion and inclusion, helping new traders to start up.
  • Markets are crucial for generating a sense of place identity and distinction.
  • Markets can help to animate underused or vacant spaces with activity.

Political benefits

  • Markets can help to promote sustainability and shopping local.
  • Markets can help to enhance food security by providing a link between rural and urban activity.
  • Markets can promote community health by providing affordable fresh food and social activities.

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