A market survey of 35 cattle traders in Zaria was conducted to investigate the nature of competition, marketing services, traders' gross margin and to assess the market performance. Although there were many sellers and buyers and no collusion, Lorenz curve analyses showed that 30% of all traders were handling more than 70% of the sales. The Gini coefficient was also high (0.53), indicating a high inequality in size distribution and seller concentration, and hence imperfect competition. Cost of transportation (N 15.13) (US S 20.12) anima1-1 was the highest of the marketing services, representing 35.5%. Total cost of marketing services (N 42.63) (USS 56.70) animal-1 was a low proportion (6.1%) of final sale price. Estimated gross margin to traders was high (N 264.71) (USS 352.06) animal-1 which was about 37.8% of the sale price. The only element of a market barrier was the high operating capital required. Pricing was by haggling and no standardization or grading existed. The need and means for improving the nature of competition and technological innovation are discussed.