Sumner Communications Inc.'s Annual Flea Market Survey Shows Marriage of Technology and Tradition

America's flea markets and swap meets maintain time-honored traditions but increasingly utilize new technology to attract vendors and shoppers.

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With the American economy still struggling to fully recover from the recession, shoppers continue to seek their best option for purchasing household goods, and flea markets fill the bill.

Bethel, CT (PRWEB) May 02, 2013

Just as the greater portion of American consumers have embraced the use of technology in the form of smartphones and tablets, so too have the traditional face-to-face flea market vendors and business owners adopted the trend as their own. In the 2013 State of the Flea Market Industry survey conducted in February 2013 by Sumner Communications, the overwhelming majority of those surveyed, both market owners and vendors, indicated their preference and use of the expanding technologies.

"The time-honored practice of bargaining for the best deal is still the beating heart of the flea market and swap meet business," says Scott Sumner, CEO of Sumner Communications, "but more and more markets are using online platforms like Facebook and Twitter to drive in new customers, and giving vendors the opportunity to post sales and special deals for further promotion.”

The 2013 survey results point to continued modest but steady growth in shopper traffic, with 53% of markets reporting overall customer numbers the same as last year, and a further 29% reporting an increase year over year. With the American economy still struggling to fully recover from the recession, shoppers continue to seek their best option for purchasing household goods, and flea markets fill the bill.

Market vendor morale is also on the upswing, as 41% percent of those surveyed expected their 2013 annual sales to match or beat the year prior. When asked what they felt were the strongest factors to their business success, vendors resoundingly pointed to choosing a marketplace where owners and managers work diligently to draw in crowds of buyers. Using traditional techniques like hosting special events, holiday themed sales, and general old-fashioned attractions like carnival rides or local fundraisers, managers have recently added the twist of tweeting and posting news of these events to alert the community.

Sumner Communications’ research found that, not only are the markets providing additional services to the vendors in the form of active web sites (over 70% surveyed have a web presence), owners are attempting to keep booth or space rental prices as attractively low as possible. “With over 74% of the markets surveyed in business for six or more years, these owners and vendors know what works," Sumner adds. “It’s no secret that low prices and a friendly face will draw business. Now we can add a well placed social media post or tweet to that list.”

New to the 2013 survey, jewelry topped the list of hottest-selling merchandise with 50% of vendors surveyed indicating this merchandise category as their top seller. Gifts and novelties ranked second (43.5%) followed by collectibles (41.2%) and apparel/clothing (38.9%) rounding out the top of the list.

Also of interest, when asked how they find or source their new merchandise for reselling within the market arena, vendors overwhelmingly chose online searches (86%). “Clearly, utilizing the internet and online resources such as Fleamarketzone.com has become the norm for swap meet and flea market vendors to find their best-selling merchandise,” states Sumner.

The 2013 survey also found that more than half of respondents (59%) are members of PROVENDOR, the Professional Vendor Association, a no-fee membership organization launched by Sumner Communications in 2012. ProVendor provides a valuable resource for vendors to connect with suppliers and learn new techniques to improve their businesses. Vendors may sign up for the program at http://www.Fleamarketzone.com.

Sumner Communications has been serving the wholesale merchandise industry since 1988. With both monthly and annual titles, the company prints over two million copies each year for independent retailers, flea market and swap meet vendors, and buyers of wholesale merchandise. With top Google and Yahoo-ranked websites WholesaleCentral.com and Fleamarketzone.com, Sumner Communications provides the most expansive trade platform for bringing wholesale buyers and sellers together.