Markets First - An Industry Campaign 2023 & 2024

Following the results of the National Markets’ Survey, published by NABMA in 2022, we are pleased to be launching “Markets First” – A vision for UK Markets aimed at securing the future for UK markets.

Commencing April 2023, our “Markets First” campaign, we will be engaging with our members, traders, government, partners, and the media to create a national dialogue about the future of markets. The campaign’s initial campaign will last through to the end of 2024.

Looking at five key areas that were highlighted from the national survey and wider discussions, the campaign will feature a programme around resources, activity, consultation, and promotions.

It is our aim that this campaign will bring to the forefront the future of markets and their importance to communities through a programme of discussion, challenges, training, upskilling, benchmarking, and best practice.

Markets & the National Context

The Markets Industry is recognised by government as a top factor to help deliver vibrant high streets. There are some 1,150 traditional markets in the UK. We understand that 84% are local authority operated or controlled, with the remainder delivered by the private sector, traders, charities, Business Improvement Districts and social enterprises. Markets are a focus for startup business, retail, tourism, hospitality, and social inclusion. They are an important community asset.

The impact of the pandemic has been considerable. Since March 2020 there has been little financial support for operators. Some 30% of traders had no financial support and a NABMA Survey coming out of the pandemic suggested that 85% of our members had concern for the future. 

National Markets Survey 2022

The NABMA Survey, published in December 2022, highlights that the market industry faces major challenges in the years ahead. It was the most important research undertaken on our industry since 2018, when we undertook with NMTF the last national Survey.

These challenges arise from many factors including the pandemic, the economic crisis and the general difficulties faced by town and city centres and the performance of their high streets.



The NABMA Survey provides some key messages for the industry.

The headline messages compared to 2018

Stall occupancy is down from 77% to 72% *

The number of traders is down from 32,000

Only 8% of traders are under 40 years of age

84% of markets are operated or controlled by local authorities

Only 40% of markets have an annual financial surplus

Only 13% can record footfall

*The number of stalls available for letting has reduced significantly since the 2018 Survey meaning the actual reduction of 5% is likely to be much higher.

The Survey has led to NABMA shaping a Campaign and Action Plan to address the headline messages that we believe will help secure the markets industry for the future.

Markets First

Markets First Campaign
Our Priorities


Attracting and retaining traders


Addressing the economic challenges of Markets


Demonstrating the wider value of Markets


Professionalising Market Management


Improving relationship with traders

Will You Support the Campaign?

Please email us your support for the Campaign

Are you prepared to be part of a Group that will look at the priority areas?

Will you use the #MarketsFirst hashtag during the Campaign?

Will you write to your Member of Parliament and seek their support for the Campaign?

Will you share your good practice and views around the five priorities?