Is Facebook Marketplace Killing Craigslist?

 In Behavioral Analysis, eCommerce, Growth, Market Trends

In the fall of 2016, Facebook announced it was rolling out a peer-to-peer selling feature on its social media platform called Marketplace. Dubbed the “Craigslist Killer,” Facebook Marketplace saw more than 18 million products listed within six months. But is Facebook Marketplace really killing Craigslist? We were curious about these peer-to-peer selling sites so we did what we do best; we looked at the data.

No Doubt! Facebook Marketplace Has Grown

Practically everyone has a Facebook account. The largest social media platform sees 1.37 billion daily active users. So it’s safe to say they have a sizeable, active audience to market their Marketplace to. And it shows. Since launching in April 2017, Jumpshot data shows usage of Facebook Marketplaces has grown almost 9X!

Growth Is Everywhere

We dug into the data a little deeper to see if growth was concentrated in specific categories of goods. We looked at the monthly change of product views in three of the nine currently listed product categories.

The data revealed that the Vehicle category had grown 30X since April 2017, Furniture grew by almost 23X, and Electronics has grown by more than 14X. So obviously people have been becoming aware of Facebook Marketplace and looking for used products to buy.

Growth of Facebook Marketplaces from April 2017 to January 2018

Growth of unique visitors to Facebook Marketplace categories from April 2017 to January 2018

But did this growth come at the expense of Craigslist? Have people started using Facebook Marketplace instead of Craigslist?

Expanding Into New Categories

Since launching, Facebook has already added two new categories: Properties for Sale and Properties for Rent, to the Marketplace. And initial data shows that users are starting to see this as a legitimate source for finding new housing. Since January 2018, the Property Rental category alone drove more traffic that the entire Electronics category.

While the Properties for Sale category hasn’t seen as dramatic a start, driving 70% of the traffic compared to the Rental category, it may just be a matter of time before Facebook is competing with Truilia and Realtor.

So, Is Facebook Killing Craigslist?

While the growth of Facebook Marketplace is interesting, how was it impacting Craigslist, if at all? Craigslist went live in 1996 and now has more than 60 million active users every month. How has it been affected since Facebook Marketplace launched?

While views of Vehicle classifieds grew 30X on Facebook, on Craigslist, views of Vehicle classifieds have declined significantly, month-over-month, in that same time frame. And what about the Electronics and Furniture categories on Craigslist? While these have each grown almost 15X on Facebook Marketplaces since launch, the data reveals that usage on Craigslist has been flat.

So, is Facebook Marketplace killing Craigslist? Based on the data, the answer is no. Even in the Vehicle category, the data is more corollary, albeit interesting, but does not definitively point to causation. After all, there are likely many other variables that could be driving down the usage of Craigslist vehicle classifieds.

 The data reveals that Facebook Marketplace is growing—fast! But it also shows that shoppers are not substituting Craigslist for Facebook. On the contrary, with stable usage on Craigslist, and growth on Facebook, shoppers are most likely adding Facebook Marketplace to their list of online classifieds searches in order to find the right product at the right price. It’s a great example of how looking at the data, across marketplaces, can help to spot new trends in online behavior—even in the classified section.


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