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.


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


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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