This page is for explaining what is meant by certain terms often used here on Flea Market Philadelphia. These terms might appear vague but here they have specific meanings.

Serious Vendor:  

A person who sells at flea markets regularly with the intention of earning profits. As opposed to a casual vendor (see below).

Some serious vendors supplement their incomes selling at flea markets; others actually earn their livings doing it—or attempt to do so.

Serious vendors are also referred to as professionals and/or semi-professionals.

Casual Vendor:

A person who occasionally sells at flea markets for several reasons—normally, the least of which is to earn profits. Casual vendors, for the most part, are happy with whatever money they make beyond the rent for their spaces. This category often includes those who wish to de-junk their homes, those who are moving and must downsize quickly, those who enjoy the social aspect of flea markets, and those who are mainly there to support whatever organization or cause for which the flea market is raising money or awareness.


Someone who searches flea markets and various other sales (and even the Internet) with the sole intention of reselling what he or she buys for profit.

Many pickers are Internet dealers while others have their own physical stores. Some place merchandise in consignment shops and, of course, many are serious/professional/semi-professional flea market vendors. Most pickers do a combination of these things.

A more common name for picker in the Philadelphia area is dealer.


Someone who buys merchandise at flea markets to keep for their own personal use. Generally, this includes collectors though many collectors buy things just to have without ever intending to actually use. Therefore, someone can be an end-user and not necessarily be a collector and vice versa.

End-users (and collectors) are very important to serious vendors because theoretically they pay the most for merchandise. Pickers/dealers pay the least. Serious vendors should, in essence, buy in order to sell, first and foremost, to end-users.

Buyer’s Market/Seller’s Market:

I realize these terms are not only vague but literally make no sense when used to describe flea markets. Flea markets need both sellers and buyers or they wouldn’t exist. But when used here, I am looking at each market from a professional (both vendor and shopper) point of view. Basically, I try to gauge, overall and in a general sense, whether a flea market might lean towards being better for earning profits (selling at) or for finding merchandise to resell (shopping at).

As a rule, larger, higher-end, well established, well advertised flea markets in or near affluent neighborhoods tend to attract a lot of collectors and other end-users and, therefore, are more likely to be seller’s markets—place where serious vendors have the potential to earn substantial profits.

Smaller flea markets or flea markets that are not very well organized and do minimal advertising, or are in or near working class or poorer neighborhoods, tend to be buyer’s markets. These markets attract more casual vendors due to inexpensive space price and/or loyalty to the cause.

Altogether, this makes for a well-balanced ecosystem:

Dealer goes to buyer’s market to “pick” merchandise from casual seller in order to sell either online, at their store, or, if he or she is also a serious vendor, at a higher-end flea market (seller’s market) for end-users and collectors to buy for much more money than he or she originally paid. 

Spending Climate:

An overall gauge of how frequently shoppers at any flea market are making purchases and whether or not they are paying at or near vendors’ original asking price. 

Review vs. Report:

A review is an overall and general description of what a flea market is like while a report (“A Report From the Flea Market Trenches”) describes the writer’s experiences selling or shopping at a particular flea market on one particular day.

Special-Event Flea Market:

Flea markets that are held occasionally; as much as once a month though most special-event flea markets run once or twice a year.

Year-Round (or Ongoing) Flea Market:

A flea market that runs once or more every week in the same location either all year round or for part of the year.

Event, Show, Market:

Used interchangeably as substitutes for the term flea market.