The second hand at the time of Facebook

The telephone interview has just begun when Marie-Eve Turcotte is bombarded with messages on her smartphone. She takes a few seconds to see it and comes back to us.

second hands clothes

"Well, I'm writing a message to someone who's coming to get something..." she says.

It's something, it's Mexican blouses that Marie-Eve wants to get rid of. And that someone is someone who has seen their ad on Marketplace, a sub-section of Facebook for selling and buying used items that works with geolocation.

Marie-Eve Turcotte, 38 years old interior designer, sells a lot on Facebook. She posts her ads on Marketplace (Facebook's central platform) as well as on various social network groups of which she is a member. These are virtual bazaars that bring together sellers and buyers according to their place of residence or interests.


"Since I gave birth two years ago, I've started using these applications in a crazy way," says the Rosemont neighbourhood resident, laughing. I started cleaning my house. There are people who come to our house almost every day to buy something. This is not a joke! »

Marie-Eve also buys goods, both on Facebook and on the Ad Site: furniture, her clothes, her son's clothes... Thanks to the Facebook groups of which she is a member, she has been able to establish links with mothers in her neighbourhood who sell her high-quality children's clothes that she would never dare buy new. "And as soon as she doesn't feel like it anymore... I sell them," adds Marie-Eve, who points out that all this takes her time.

Marie-Eve Turcotte sells a lot on Facebook. It posts its ads on the Marketplace (Facebook's central platform) as well as on different social network groups.

Social networks are getting started

Just 15 years ago, the purchase of second-hand goods was highly stigmatized, recalls Fabien Durif, director of the Observatoire de la consommation responsable at ESG UQAM. It was the arrival of large platforms like Kijijiji that brought the second-hand market to life," he says.

And for the past 10 years, this market has only grown. Even retailers, like IKEA, are getting involved, notes Fabien Durif. "Social networks also participate in this movement, it's obvious," he agrees.

Every year for the past five years, Fabien Durif and his team have produced the Kijijiji Index of the second-hand economy. Funded by Kijiji (owned by eBay), the study surveys Canadians about their habits in this area.

The fifth edition will be published in the summer. It shows a slight increase in social networks - all combined - and Facebook's Marketplace platform, "but we are still very far from the major players who have succeeded in establishing themselves on the market," says Fabien Durif.

In Canada, Kijiji is far ahead," he says.

Facebook invests in

Nevertheless, since the launch of Marketplace in 2016, the giant Facebook has been working hard to carve out a place for itself in this growing market, says Thoma Daneau, a digital marketing expert. "Facebook has put a lot of effort into its local sales groups," he says. And because of that, it really increased the popularity of Marketplace. »

Users who post an ad on one of these groups can now post the same ad on the Marketplace and other groups with a single click. Marie-Eve Turcotte, for example, publishes on Marketplace and on 10 other sales groups at the same time.

The number of these groups has exploded in the last five years. There are general groups, such as Montreal Blackmarket, Facebook Online Garage Sale, Baby items for sale or donation, as well as a multitude of neighbourhood sales groups.

"Ten years ago, I used Kijiji, but now I never go there again," says Gaëlle Lebreton, who founded the Bazar de Villeray in 2013, which now has more than 18,000 members.

Gaëlle no longer manages this Facebook group today, but she continues to find and sell items there. If she chooses the second hand, she says, it is as much to save money as to reduce her environmental footprint.

"We're so busy on Facebook all the time that we don't even need to do any more research," says Gaëlle: the items for sale automatically appear in the Facebook feed. Sometimes it creates needs for us that we don't have..."

Facebook uses algorithms to offer ads to its users based on their previous searches. "Last week, I was selling children's bicycles. And now I keep seeing children's bicycles to buy," notes Gaëlle. And that's what bothers me the most: Big Brother..."

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