Thursday, April 25

For Generation Z, Facebook is a marketplace

In December, Ellicia Chiu and Cher Su had just a few boxes in tow when they moved into a walk-up apartment on New York’s Lower East Side. Before their move from Los Angeles, the two friends knew that they would need to furnish their new apartment with small appliances, decoration and kitchen furniture. But instead of buying new items, they knew it would be more affordable to find used items on Facebook Marketplace, the social network’s buying and selling service.

“I only use Facebook for Marketplace,” said Ms. Chiu, 24, who added that she spends most of her social time on TikTok and Instagram, which are owned by Meta, Facebook’s parent company.

For many people in their 20s who don’t have a lot of disposable income, Marketplace is a place to get deals on items they normally couldn’t afford.

“As a young person in my 20s, I want to have nicer things but I don’t have the financial means to do that yet,” said Ms. Chiu, who added that she prefers Marketplace to other sites because its interface was easy to use. use, making it easier to find deals on furniture.

Over the past decade, Facebook has lost popularity among Gen Z as a social site, 2022 Pew Research Center survey find. Instead, young people are spending more social time on Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.

“Facebook Marketplace is often called ‘the garage sale of the Internet’ and is the modern counterpart to eBay and Craigslist,” he said. Yoo-Kyoung Seockprofessor of textiles, merchandising and interiors at the University of Georgia, who studies consumption behavior of generation Z and millennials And environmental sustainability in the textile industry. “The platform’s remarkable success is largely due to the trust users place in it, which results from its unique connection to the social network Facebook.”

For a generation that is environmentally conscious and prefers to buy second-hand, Marketplace has become popular.

“Young people, including students and young professionals, are increasingly attracted to second-hand goods,” explains Dr. Seok he said. Faster inflation has also made second-hand shopping a practical choice, she added.

Launched in 2016, Marketplace has more than one billion monthly active users and is the second most popular online site for used goods, behind eBay, according to a 2022 survey by Statista, a company that provides market data. Meta doesn’t say much about Marketplace as a company, how its demographics may differ from those of Facebook as a whole, and its vision for growing the platform in its annual reports. Meta did not respond to questions about whether it had long-term business goals for Marketplace or whether it was aware of the platform’s popularity among Gen Z.

Some buyers say they prefer Marketplace compared to Craigslist, which was popular among older generations looking for used goods, because unlike Craigslist users, Marketplace buyers and sellers have profiles with ratings that make them more trustworthy and Messaging is integrated into Facebook, making communication easier.

Using Marketplace is free for buyers. Although sellers may encounter transaction fees, many avoid it by selling locally and asking buyers to bring cash when picking up their purchase. Ms. Chiu said she usually paid with Venmo, although she brought cash if a seller insisted.

Ms. Chiu and Ms. Su said their favorite purchase in the market was a sofa from West Elm, which the seller had owned for less than a year. The sofa retailed for $1,200 and they bought it for $145. Ms. Chiu said the salesman warned her that the sofa had cat claw marks, but when she and Ms. Su went to look at it, they didn’t see many scratches.

Some of their other favorite Marketplace finds include a Zojirushi rice cooker (retail: $150; purchased on Marketplace for $50), a Dyson vacuum cleaner (retail: $470; purchased on Marketplace for $135), and a IKEA NORDEN extendable table (retail price: $350; purchased on Marketplace for $150).

In total, Ms. Chiu and Ms. Su said they spent about $1,400 on more than 30 items purchased on Marketplace and estimated they saved more than $3,000.

Not all of Ms. Chiu and Ms. Su’s purchases were successful: Ms. Chiu once bought a plant from a seller whose roots she discovered were broken when she tried to repot it. Buyers must negotiate returns with sellers on Marketplace, and Ms. Chiu’s plant seller later offered her a 50 percent refund of the price she had paid, which she accepted. Ms. Su said she once bought a bookshelf that collapsed when she got home. She was unable to get a refund.

Ms Su said she was aware of Marketplace scams and tried to avoid them. “Many scammers try to ask for personal information when sending messages about items, so be wary of that too! » she warned. (Meta provides users with guides on recognize And avoid scams.)

Sebastian Ramos, a student at DePaul University in Chicago, also uses Marketplace to buy and sell items, and he even once got a free couch (estimated retail price: $1,300). He also purchased acrylic vinyl record shelves (estimated retail price: $45; purchased on Marketplace for $10) and sold his used Nintendo 3DS (retail price: $200; sold on Marketplace for $150 ).

Mr. Ramos, 21, said he did not use Facebook for social media, but liked to buy second-hand items on Marketplace to save money and also because he liked to shop. shopping at thrift stores.

“You don’t have to pay more for something new when you can find something that’s been used, or even lightly used, for a lot less,” he said.

Sarah Williams, who lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is an executive assistant and new mom. Shortly after she and her husband found out they were expecting a baby last year, Williams said Marketplace was the first place she started looking to buy baby items.

The first item on his list was a light wood crib. But the cribs she found online cost $1,200 and were out of her budget.

“The prices were absolutely ridiculous,” Ms Williams, 24, said.

After a rigorous two-week search online, she found a crib she loved that a woman who lived near her had listed on Marketplace. After exchanging messages via Facebook Messenger with the seller, Ms. Williams and her husband went to the woman’s home to inspect the crib. They bought it for $300, 75 percent less than the original price, after seeing that it was in good condition.

“It was a very nice, very friendly exchange,” Ms Williams said.

Williams said she hoped to find other mothers on Marketplace who had items they no longer needed because their children had outgrown them.

Like Ms. Williams, Ms. Chiu and Ms. Su said being able to network and meet new people while picking up their Marketplace purchases had been an enjoyable part of their moving experience and settling into their new home.

“That’s how Facebook started, and it’s cool that Marketplace promotes that as well,” Ms. Su said.