Hawking | Attributes, Advantages and Disadvantages

Hawking is a form of small-scale retail trade that involves the transportation and selling of goods from one place to another.

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In this post, we shall discuss the concept of hawking as a form of small scale retail trade. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • define hawking;
  • identify at least four attributes of hawking;
  • list six advantages of hawking; and
  • mention six disadvantages of hawking.

Hawking

Hawking is a form of small-scale retail trade that involves the transportation and selling of goods from one place to another.

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Hawkers carry and display their goods on their heads, carts, or canoes, and they often deal in popular consumer goods like food items. It is a common sight in many urban and rural areas, providing door-to-door services to consumers.

Image Credit: victor olamide ajibola on Unsplash.

Attributes of Hawking

  1. Form of Small Scale Retail Trade: Hawking is characterized as a small-scale retail trade as it involves the direct selling of goods to consumers in smaller quantities.
  2. Movement of Goods: Hawkers transport goods from one location to another, reaching out to customers in various neighbourhoods or marketplaces.
  3. Carrying and Displaying Goods: Hawkers carry and display their goods using various means like their heads, carts, or canoes to attract potential customers.
  4. Popular Consumer Goods: Hawkers typically deal in popular consumer goods, especially food items that are in demand by the local population.
  5. Requires Small Capital Outlay: Starting a hawking business requires relatively small capital, making it accessible to individuals with limited resources.
  6. Advertising Methods: Hawkers use various advertising methods, such as horns, bells, trumpets, shouting, etc., to attract attention and promote their products.

Advantages of Hawking

  1. Low Capital Requirement: Hawking allows individuals to start their business with a small amount of capital.
  2. Door-to-Door Services: Hawkers provide convenient door-to-door services to consumers, saving them time and effort.
  3. Medium of Advertising: Hawkers serve employ mobile advertising, showcasing products to potential customers as they move around.
  4. Completion of Production: Hawkers help complete the production process by reaching the end consumers.
  5. No Rent and Wages: Unlike fixed retail shops, hawkers do not incur expenses like rent or wages for employees.
  6. Affordable Prices: Goods sold by hawkers are often relatively cheap due to reduced overhead costs.
  7. Employment Opportunities: Hawking provides employment opportunities for individuals who might not have access to other formal employment.
  8. Stepping Stone to Bigger Business: For some entrepreneurs, hawking serves as a starting point before venturing into larger business ventures.
  9. Easy to Start: Hawking businesses are relatively easy to initiate, requiring less bureaucracy and formalities.
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Disadvantages of Hawking

  1. Traffic Risks: Hawking goods along major roads can be risky due to the prevalence of accidents and hazards.
  2. Traffic Hold-up: In densely populated areas, hawking may cause traffic congestion, particularly in large cities like Lagos.
  3. Vulnerable to Predators: Young girls who hawk can be vulnerable to harassment and exploitation by unscrupulous individuals.
  4. Environmental Nuisance: In some cases, hawking can lead to littering and environmental nuisances.
  5. Health Hazards: Food items exposed to open air during hawking can be susceptible to contamination and health hazards.
  6. Safety Risks: Hawking by canoe poses safety risks, as capsizing can lead to accidents and even fatalities.
  7. Impact on Education: Some children may be forced to hawk goods, which can hinder their access to education.
  8. Exposure to Weather Conditions: Hawkers are exposed to various weather conditions, which can affect their well-being.
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