Sunday 26 August 2018

My First Winter Night Market

A trader once said to me that the Night Market pinches customers from the Day Market and I can now tell him that I doubt that is true - the Night Market is a different beast altogether.

Wednesday night was my first foray into the glitzy world of QVM’s successful Night Market concept (apart from one season of the Summer Night Market 20 years ago) and I participated from a container in String Bean Alley. Taking on a container in String Bean Alley is a bit of a gamble, at least until the aisle is fully populated, but the Night Market certainly helps with the economics.

The clientele on Wednesday night was quite different from the Day Market. The majority of my customers were young Asians, I’m guessing Chinese, and I am also guessing students, or possibly with a tour group.

This was clearly a tourist crowd. I was asked to join in photos on at least four occasions (they probably found the old sailor a quirky point of interest) and there was plenty of bubble wrapping for travel.

Business was good. I would describe it as equivalent to a good Saturday and of course the crowd is huge. There is definitely a party atmosphere going on, and an element of fun. This is not shopping, it is going out for a good time. Customers walking into your stall with a glass of beer or wine in their hand was testament to that.

One interesting little observation for me was that the young Asian customers were happy to buy my “Made in China” products while their parents would probably balk at the idea. Some generational change could be happening here.

Could this sort of atmosphere be translated to the Day Market? Maybe - but there are lots of things going on here. The Night Market is different, it’s special, it’s after hours, it’s at night, there is lots of food (in fact food dominates) and the music is pervading. You could bring some of those elements to a Day Market but it is a bit like trying to turn a station wagon into a sports car. You could get the colour and many of the components similar, but in the end they are different vehicles with different purposes, different features and different attractions.

The potential for doing business is clearly evident and it is quite possible that future traders will have viable market businesses based on a dose of both day and night trading.

By Greg Smith.

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