Why Are Sunday Markets So Popular with Gen Z?

The Sunday market is a long-held tradition in many local communities. Far from the hustle and bustle of high street megastores, local markets provide the opportunity for people to get their shopping fix in a more relaxed setting, and often in a stimulating outdoor area. There are few experiences that can compare.

In recent years, local markets have been difficult to organise; however, they are coming back in a big way with the support of an unexpected ally: Generation Z. Younger generations are turning back to their roots and revitalising the landscape of the Sunday market to suit younger demographics.

No longer is the Sunday market a place solely dedicated to buying and selling groceries. Now, markets have been elevated to accommodate a whole host of services that have transformed markets into something far greater than their humble beginnings.

Gen Z is unique among the generations for a number of reasons, and the individuality of this generation means that they are seeking grassroots alternatives for purchases. Here, we’ll be looking at a few of the reasons why the younger generations are perfectly suited to spending a day browsing the Sunday market.

Diverse food and drink

On the whole, Gen Z is particularly keen on spending time socialising and indulging in things that they enjoy. Naturally, a part of this indulgence is food. Markets have, for a long time, been a space for local food artisans to showcase their delicious offerings and handmade arts, and the same is true today. In particular, markets are a hotspot for street food.

The UK has marked the seventh-highest regional interest for the search term ‘street food’, making it clear that we are a nation that likes to enjoy street food as part of our eating habits. As our world becomes more connected, markets don’t solely showcase regional dishes. Current street food trends rely on customers being able to sample a range of global cuisines, such as Greek, Mexican, Turkish, and more.

Gen Z is pushing the boat out and embracing diversity in food and drinks. Whether they are interested in enjoying an authentic shawarma wrap or choosing from a range of non-alcoholic cocktails, a Sunday market is likely to have something to tickle their fancy. Given their adventurous desire for new tastes, it’s no surprise that younger audiences are being drawn to markets by diverse food options.

Coming back from the pandemic

Sunday markets, as with many other events and industries over recent years, have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in the UK. There have been periods where markets were simply not permitted, and many people have been hesitant to attend gatherings of crowds.

Global travel restrictions have put an end to many holiday dreams. For Gen Z, this has stumped perhaps their first opportunities to travel abroad independently. While long-distance travel is prohibited, many have begun to seek fresh experiences within their local area. As a result, many would-be travellers have been turning their eyes towards nearby events rather than abroad, and a trip to the market presents a unique way to see a familiar location.

Since markets largely take place outdoors, they are also relatively safe places to gather for those who are more conscious of COVID-19. They provide an opportunity to spend a day outside that simply wasn’t possible during the height of the pandemic.

Andrew, 24, from the North East of England, spoke about how lockdown changed his opinion of markets: “It’s something a bit different from a Sunday lunch or nursing a hangover – a good difference. I can see my friends, walk the dog, and enjoy some really good local food and drink. Especially in the past couple of years when outdoor spaces have been so important, I’ve got a newfound appreciation for a Sunday market. It’s literally a breath of fresh air.”

Shopping small

Ethical consumption is more popular than ever before as more people are searching for sustainable ways to spend their money. This is particularly true of Gen Z. According to a study by The Digital Fairy, members of Gen Z said that ethics and politics were the main indicators of a good brand.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Gen Z is choosing to shun mainstream commercial outlets in favour of alternatives such as purchasing items in markets. Even Gen Z fashion trends reveal this shift, with retro and vintage fashion becoming popular in recent years. Purchasing trends show that Gen Z is even willing to spend a few extra pounds if it means they get an ethical product.

A Sunday market shopping trip fulfils many of the desires of Gen Z shoppers. They can communicate directly with vendors about the ethics of their products to ensure that they are investing their money in businesses with which their views are aligned. Plus, for those of Gen Z who are particularly interested in revitalising their region, a Sunday market presents the perfect opportunity for them to engage with local traders.

You might think of markets as quiet occasions filled with antiques, but Gen Z is enjoying the realities of the Sunday market for what it is. Markets are a great source for younger generations to find what they want, whether that is exciting food or vintage clothing, and know that their money is being used ethically too.


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