Future bright for wholesale and retail markets around the globe


26 October 2017

Wholesale and retail markets will be more relevant than ever in the future, despite the rise of internet shopping and the arrival of Amazon.


Presenting at the World Union of Wholesale Markets (WUWM) Congress in Melbourne this week, Chair of Borough Market Trustees Donald Hyslop said online retailers could not provide the social and human relationships which markets delivered.


“Markets are absolutely central to communities and cities and towns are incomplete without them – they’re open places of exchange and interaction,” he said.


The three-day Melbourne contingent of the congress – hosted by the Melbourne Market Authority (MMA), Queen Victoria Market (QVM) and Sydney Markets Limited (SML) – featured a strong line-up of local and international speakers and panellists who shared the challenges and opportunities for markets under the banner of market modernisation.


University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics Professor Colin McLeod said the issue for markets was deciding whether to partner with or resist online retailers but they needed to remember the customer of the future was Gen Z.


“Within five years they’ll be the biggest market segment in most countries. Face to face communication is critical to them – have conversations with them to engage. Human interaction is critical for innovation and successful innovation starts with conversation,” he said.


While Amazon’s emergence was expected to cause carnage for traditional supermarkets, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College in London Dr David Hughes believed it could create opportunities for produce and wholesale markets.


He said customers were seeking fresh produce experts – which supermarkets and online lacked – and extraordinary opportunities existed for forward-thinking fresh food centres of excellence.


The WUWM Congress is held every two years and attracted around 200 international and local delegates to Australia from the fresh produce industry. It was first time in almost three decades Australia hosted the event.


Victorian Government Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford opened the congress and said modernising Melbourne’s markets would position Victoria to benefit from the doubling of global income levels by 2040 and the increasing consumer demand for premium, bulk commodity and niche food and fibre products.


The congress will conclude in Sydney with a tour of Sydney’s Flemington (wholesale) and Paddy’s Market (retail) on Friday 27 October.


For more information about the congress visit www.wuwmcongress.org.


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