The word itinerant denotes travelling from one place to another.

Itinerant retailers are, therefore, small-scale traders who sell goods by moving from one place to place.

Itinerant traders generally sell in units to consumers. They usually operate small-scale retail activities.

To start trading, itinerant traders just need a minimal amount of money.

Types Of Itinerant Retailers

There are four major types of itinerant retailers, namely; hawkers, cheap jacks, market traders and street traders

1. Hawkers: These are the oldest form of retail trade in the world.

Hawkers (also known as peddlers) are petty traders who carry goods on their heads or carts and sell to consumers from door to door.

Who is a Hawker

In other words, hawkers are itinerant traders who carry their goods on their heads, push carts, and bicycles from street to street or from door to door in search of customers.

You must have seen hawkers early in the morning hawking paper.

2. Market traders: As its name seems to suggest, market traders are traders who only sell goods on market days.

A market trader may have a fixed place in the market where he sells goods on market days or he may have top r to different locations in the market based on the market days.

different places in the market where he has to change location depending on the market days.

Market traders usually sell goods that are essential for daily living and their customers are usually locals who live close to the market.

3. Street traders: These are vendors that set up shop in areas where a large number of passersby congregate, like a busy road.

Since many people find it convenience to pick up stuff on their way home from work, street vendors typically exhibit their goods to the full glare of passengers

Their goods are usually laid out on bare pavement, rug or carpet and they usually sell goods of common use such as stationery items, ready-made, shoes, newspaper etc.

Street traders are also called pavement vendors, or roadside traders.

It is important to note that street traders are different from market traders as they do not change their place of business often like market traders.

4. Cheap Jacks: These are very similar to hawkers, except that they have a small shop of temporary nature.

By the small shop of temporary nature, we mean that cheap jacks change business from one location to another if the business is no longer profitable.


Characteristics Of Itinerant Retailers 

1. Have no fixed shop: True to their name, itinerant retailers have no permanent shop.

They travel from one location to another looking for customer.

2. Require little capital: Itinerant retailing requires only a little capital to start. One just needs to buy the goods that will be sold. 

The cost of having a permanent store is eliminated.

3.  Carry limited stock: As they usually carry goods on their head or hand cart, itinerant retailers usually carry just a limited stock of goods.

The rest of their goods are kept at their home or other places of storage.

4. Reduced price: Since itinerant retailers do not have to pay rent, utilities, or other business overhead, they can charge less for products than retailers with fixed stores.

5. Deal in goods of daily use: Itinerant retailers sell items like food, vegetables, ice cream, and newspapers.

6. Small scale operation: Itinerant retailers practice small scale business operation.

As a result, the range of their activities and the variety of products they can sell are constrained.


7. Emphasis on stress-free purchase: The whole idea of itinerant retailing is to make deliver goods to consumers where and when they want them.

This is accomplished by traveling merchants by delivering things right to customers door step.

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