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BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT FINNISH OUTDOOR MARKETS AND FAIRS
Part-time is Today’s Motto
The traders on outdoor markets and fairs are a very non-homogeneous group comprising old ladies selling knitwear and big companies with turnovers in the millions. The only common factor in common is the actual form of business. However, the following principal groups differ from the majority: professional traders, professional market traders and part-time traders. There are currently about 600 professional traders who move around the markets and fairs all year long. There are about 1.200 professional market traders. The number of traders in the above groups has not changed very much during the last few years, whereas, the number of the part-time traders has grown enormously. A rough estimate is that there are currently about 12.000-15.000 part-time traders. Seasonal traders are among those who are part-time traders who, for instance, only operate during the summer season. The group also includes many who have a permanent firm/shop and who supplement their income by travelling around to the appropriate events. Very many of the part-time traders also carry on a secondary occupation in close connection with agriculture; such as reprocessing, organic production and so on. Even craftsmen have, to a greater extent, discovered the outdoor markets and fairs.
About 400 market places (weekmarkets) in Finland and approximately 800 marketevents annually organised and approximately 700 fairs and festivals offer job opportunities to this massive group.
New Start for the Market Places
During the last few years, outdoor markets have stagnated. Most market places have only been busy during the summer season, and only a few dozens of about 400 marketplaces in Finland are really active. This has also been noticed within the field and Tori- ja Markkinakaupan Keskusjärjestö (=”The Central Organisation of Finnish Outdoor Markets and Fairs) has now started a nation-wide development project where efforts are made to make the market business in Finland more lively on the basis of regional marketplace rotations. In this Western European model, each marketplace in the same region is given a weekly market day of its own. In this way, both the traders and the local inhabitants learn to rely on the fact that, for instance, Thursday is a market day on our marketplace and that it is worthwhile going there. The increased transport costs also support territorial thinking since the customers’ expectations about products also follow the neighbourhood principle. The renewal of the marketplace business is on its way, but it will still take years before the marketplaces are properly able to cope with the expectations set them. The start is, however, promising and, more and more often, small companies specifically choose sales on the marketplace as their marketing channel.
Markets, Fairs and Festivals
During the last ten years, the events have drastically changed their images. Currently, marketing of events is indeed in, and even big companies will be profiled through presence at the events suitable for their imagoes. So, at more and more events, there is a market and a bazaar as an essential part which usually have a theme according to various functions. Commercialism is often a key word at numerous events organised today.
The fundamental change in the markets happened at the beginning of 1990 when Finland generally turned from the old method of auctioning of places at the market to advance reservation. This opened the market up to a much greater number of traders and prepared the way for the participation of quite new traders – often part-time traders. The idea of organising the markets around a theme is also new. For example, different market events connected with food or drink are in fashion, such as fish and garlic markets and there are handicraft and country markets. Today’s general markets are often summer festivals at different localities and so called old times’ markets arranged by towns and municipalities.
On the other hand, the fairs have increasingly changed into a business occasion. About twenty years ago, only a product presentation was allowed at the fair, not sales. Today, ever more businessmen travel from fair to fair as business events as well as markets. The professional fairs are naturally a chapter of their own class.
The festivals have lately become very popular. The festivals generally have another original theme, for instance, a music festival or a sporting event. At the festivals, culture and business mesh with a public entertainment.
Co-operation as a Factor of Success – (TMK)
The Finnish outdoor markets and fairs have during the last few years become completely reinvigorated through co-operation with all the sectors operating within the field. In the middle of the decade, this co-operation created Tori- ja Markkinakaupan Keskusjärjestö (=”The Central Organization for Finnish Outdoor Markets and Fairs”) as an organisation overseeing the national interests of the whole field and its members are those who run marketplaces, the most important traders’ organisations and the organisers of events. The best achievement of the co-operation can be considered the national Tori- ja Markkinakaupan Palvelukeskus (=”Service Centre for Outdoor Markets and Fairs”) which acts as a “nerve centre” for the whole field. The Service Centre maintains contacts with the authorities as well as with all the sectors within the field. It is the only organisation which focuses on gathering information about all the marketplaces, markets, fairs and festivals in Finland. Information is also published in several different ways. The professional magazine “Markkinaviesti” (=”Marketing Message”) is perhaps the most important information source for most people, but even the traditional event calendar, Suomen tapahtumakalenteri (=”Finland’s Event Calendar”), has kept his position. A new way of action is the Internet website of markkina.net (www.markkina.net) the popularity of which is on continually the increase. In addition, there is a mixed collection of guides and surveys. Markkinakaupan Palvelukeskus (=”Market Trading Service Centre”) is responsible for the organisation of professional education and courses in the field, the administration of the archives of the field, the foreign contacts of the field and takes part in practical arrangements of various events. It is important to remember that Markkinakaupan Palvelukeskus (Market Trading Service Centre) rapidly and efficiently serves everyone interested in the field “with a principle of one-stop service”.
If you are interested in doing business on a marketplace or at a fair please do not hesitate to contact us.
Central Organisation for Finnish Outdoor Markets Articles of Association