Sayantani Mitra says she now scrolls through listings on Facebook Marketplace “for hours”.
A 28-year-old from Oxford, prior to the pandemic she “would buy everything from charity shops, whether that’s furniture, clothes, or bags and accessories”.
But with lockdowns closing High Streets last year, her hunt for second-hand bargains switched to listings websites and apps.
Ms Mitra also now uses eBay and sites Vinted and Vestiaire, which both specialise in people selling pre-owned clothing. But she says that Facebook Marketplace is her “first place to go” because it focuses on sellers who live nearby.
“There’s a thrill in finding something unique on there,” says Ms Mitra, whose purchases over the past year have included a fridge freezer, plant stands, and a dining room table.
The boss of home decoration brand Jurande, she adds: “It’s convenient as I can collect from nearby. I have literally collected from around the corner.”
Facebook does not release standalone financial details for Marketplace. It is in fact free for non-business users to put up a simple sales listing, as the firm makes it money from users simply being on its ecosystem and seeing all the advertisements on the site.
However, Marketplace’s user numbers have soared during the pandemic. Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed that Marketplace now has more than one billion global users. This is up from a reported 800 million in 2018, for a service that was only launched in 2016.