Have we missed our chance to capture the next generation?

Is it too late now? Have we missed our chance to capture the next generation? Would it be a good or bad idea to change focus from the next generation, and to focus on the generation after next?

We seemed to have missed a trick when it comes to attracting new market traders, with new-genmany of the focus being on the young going to university to get an education in a job they need experience in. I would not suggest education is not good, but have we lost a market generation here? Is it too late to focus on them and try and make them use their skills on the market platform?

This is a question that should really be considered; would it be a waste of our resources in coming up with campaigns to get the next generation to consider market trading, when they have gotten so far in their life, and already concluded where they want to be? For those who do not know the next generation is, to me, the generation of 18 – 26 year olds, the people who should be manning our markets now with the entrepreneurial spirit. These empty stalls you see in our local market are empty because they were prepared for these guys to take over.


Steve Smith founder of Poundland – Former Bilston Market Trader

What happened? Did the younger generation of families who have a deep history in market trading decide the market life was not for them, and instead they opted for a career online? Maybe they saw little potential in the market and opted to take the family business from the market to online selling shops such as eBay? Maybe some just did not want to sell for their families but would have much preferred to sell for other companies. The younger generation, my generation, when growing up felt the pressure going through school; we were always told what was a good career choice and if you chose anything different you were sniggered at. Markets probably aren’t popular in school with teachers, but this is because market success stories don’t get blown up and don’t need to be exaggerated. When we were young we all wanted to be famous, and thought the only way was to be a footballer or singer, nobody said you can still reach fame from hard work and success.

The seed has already been planted in my generation from school, school is such an influential period in a young person’s life as it is where you find yourself, it is where you become you. Should we consider it too late for my generation, and not waste any more time and effort, and start making markets appeal to the generation that’s in schools now? Would it hurt if the local market manager or rep could go into schools and talk to the young about market trading, exploring the benefits, talking success stories and just making it a little bit fun? It would not be a waste of time as we are investing in the future of markets, we are saving thousands of businesses, we are saving and creating thousands of jobs, we are keeping communities together and encouraging people to spend locally.


Or perhaps it is not too late – is there hope? If you believe there is hope, then I recommend you make market stalls as cheap as possible to rent now, until the markets are restored to their former busy glory. If you want to capture my generation this is the way to do it; promote markets more, make them cheaper to rent, increase diverse traders, speak to local job centres, schools and colleges and spread the word markets need the next generation.  And if this is not the way than let’s put some foundations down from now to make sure markets get noticed by the generation after next, before it’s too late – again this could be markets’ last chance, to capitalise and compete with other careers and jobs.

Who would not want to be self-employed? Who would not want to reap the benefits of anything they sell – knowing it’s going in theirs and their families’ pockets.

Please note pictures were obtained from the following links: youth venture and bbc and unic.ac


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