Sales at farmers markets in B.C. increased 147% to $113 million in 2012, compared with $47 million in 2006, according to a study that the BC Association of Farmers Markets released June 27.
The number of markets increased 62% to 159 in 2012, compared with 98 in 2006, according to the study. The average amount spent per customer rose 23% to $28.82.
The base for the markets is not very broad, however.
Instead, the markets have a solid core of frequent shoppers. Almost half of market visitors shop at the markets at least two to three times per month while about one-third shop more than that.
Longtime shoppers also dominate with 60% of customers coming for at least three years and 43% coming for more than five years.
A survey of shoppers revealed were surveyed and are driven most by the nutritional content, followed by a desire to buy local, in-season products.
The markets also have the ability to stimulate spending for nearby businesses given that 80% of the 9,819 people surveyed said that the farmers' market was their primary reason for being in that area of town that day.