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Gen Z Is Joining Facebook, but Not to Network—Here’s Why

The platform's Marketplace feature enables young people to access goods at discounted rates, serving as a crucial draw for budget-conscious consumers.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Christophe Morin
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Christophe Morin

Younger demographics are increasingly shifting away from Facebook, yet one feature keeps them hooked: Marketplace. For many in their 20s, Marketplace offers an avenue to access deals on items typically beyond their budget. "I only use Facebook for Marketplace," remarked Ellicia Chiu, a 24-year-old New Yorker, highlighting its significance for young adults seeking affordability.

Getty Images | Smith Collection
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Smith Collection

Facebook's overall popularity has waned over the past decade, as evidenced by a 2022 Pew Research study. Instead, platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat dominate younger users' attention. While Facebook maintains unparalleled brand awareness, its appeal to younger audiences is dwindling.

A Savanta survey found that nearly half of Gen Z respondents use Facebook solely to connect with acquaintances. Nevertheless, the allure of Facebook remains potent for bargain hunters. The platform's Marketplace feature enables young people to access goods at discounted rates, serving as a crucial draw for budget-conscious consumers.

"Facebook Marketplace is often referred to as ‘the internet’s garage sale’ and is a modern-day counterpart to eBay and Craigslist," said Yoo-Kyoung Seock, a professor of textiles, merchandising, and interiors at the University of Georgia. "The platform’s remarkable success is largely due to the trust users place in it, which is a result of its unique connection to Facebook’s social network."

Chiu's savvy shopping on Marketplace has yielded impressive savings. Snagging a Zojirushi rice cooker for just $50, a Dyson vacuum priced at $135, and an Ikea Norden extendable table for just $150, she and her roommate have collectively spent around $1,400 on over 30 items from the platform.

Their shrewd purchases have translated into savings exceeding $3,000.

Facebook Marketplace scams people lossing dollars everyday | (representative image) | Pexels | Photo by Tobias Dziuba
Image Source: Facebook Marketplace | Pexels | Photo by Tobias Dziuba

Since its inception in 2016, Marketplace has amassed over 1 billion monthly active users, making it the second most popular online platform for secondhand goods, trailing only behind eBay. However, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, remains tight-lipped about Marketplace's financial performance, leaving limited public data available.

While Marketplace imposes transaction fees on sellers, it remains free for buyers, a factor that entices some users away from platforms like Craigslist. This pricing model contributes to Marketplace's appeal among bargain hunters seeking affordability and convenience.

Sebastian Ramos, a student at DePaul University in Chicago, provides a contrasting perspective on Marketplace, as he utilizes the platform for buying and selling items. He fondly recounts the time when he scored a free couch, exemplifying the platform's potential for incredible deals.

Expressing his satisfaction with Marketplace, Ramos emphasizes his enjoyment of purchasing and selling secondhand items. "You don’t have to pay more for a new thing when you can find something that has been used, or even slightly used, for a lot cheaper," he remarks.

Among his successful transactions, he acquired acrylic vinyl record shelves for just $10, while also profiting from the sale of his Nintendo 3DS for $150. "I have literally made hundreds in profits so far, the Marketplace is not only a great platform for consumers but also sellers," he added.