My insights into the Flea Market industry

Vector from Freepik.

We are already halfway through 2017! How time flies. Previously, I attended several flea markets and gained insights into flea markets that I want to share with you.

Good publicity is crucial

Artbox is a well known flea market in Bangkok and was brought over to Singapore. Ahead of the event, the organizers engaged famous bloggers, radio coverage and even a dedicated website to boost the hype and had an estimated 400,000 people visit the event.

And then there was the DBS PayLah! Palooza at *SCAPE. While both events were organized by the same company, the number of visitors were starkly different. I attended all three days and there was hardly anyone visiting the market. Notably, where were only some half-hearted publicity that was mostly posted to DBS’s Facebook Page.

Maybe the organizers assumed that the hype from Artbox might carry over. Or they thought that being at the heart of Orchard Road meant there will be high foot traffic during the weekends. Regardless, the exhibitors suffered from the lack of publicity and the poor crowd turnout.

The importance of contingencies

Consider Artbox again, even though the event suffered from a lot of bad press from disgruntled shoppers who experienced massive congestion issues, the organizer was quick to respond and reconfigured the layout to ease the congestion. The organizer timely response and organization finesse allowed Artbox to shine.

Nobody really likes shopping in the rain. Some flea markets, like Maker’s Parade at SOTA was held in a high foot traffic area, but the constant exposure to the elements and inclement weather can really wreck havoc and thwart sales.

So well-organized events with effective contingency plans for bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances are also vital.

Is cash still king?

Exhibitors, how many times have you lost a sale because the customer had no cash? Flea markets are traditionally a cash-only event. Events can also be held in proximity of ATMs so shoppers can withdraw cash easily.

Cashless payment options are also gaining popularity. DBS PayLah! Palooza did a great job with their cashless payment as neither the selling nor the buying party incurs any transaction fees. Transaction fees can suck the joy and incentive of going cashless, especially for sellers as they usually have to bear the transaction fee, which may translate to higher prices.

But with anything tech, errors may crop up so organizers should allow shoppers to a variety of payment modes to help close sales more smoothly.


  • Before committing to a stall, question the organizer on what publicity and marketing efforts they intend to do
  • Examine how the organizer of the flea market had managed previous events and decide if they have your interests at heart
  • Offer multiple payment options to avoid the “no cash, can’t buy” problem. Consider offering cashless payment options like PayPal or DBS PayLah!

I am on the look out for more flea markets and related events to attend, I hope to see more familiar faces and also meet new ones too!

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