Blocket ads worth more than Estonia

Blocket ads worth more than Estonia
Business is thriving on Swedish buy-and-sell site as the market for second hand goods soars in the wake of the economic crisis.

The popular website, which serves as a marketplace for people looking to unload used household items, saw the value of goods advertised on the site jump by 20 percent last year to 193 billion kronor ($23 billion).

“Most things sell right away. A study we did shows that 61 percent of the goods advertised by individuals are sold in less than a week,” said Blocket’s marketing director Anna Björklund to the TT news agency.

The total value of goods advertised on Blocket represents around 6 percent of Sweden’s GDP in 2008, and is greater than the 2007 GDPs of both Iceland and Estonia.

The site functions similarly to the popular US website, allowing users to post classified ads for everything from bedroom sets to baby carriages.

Unlike Craigslist, however, users on Blocket are charged a small fee to place an ad on the site.

According to Björklund, there are several factors behind Blocket’s booming business.

One cause is that more and more people are discovering e-commerce, including older buyers.

Another factor is the current economic crisis.

“There are likely many people who this autumn had their eyes opened to the idea of buying and selling used goods. Many have things at home that they don’t need, things that are valuable,” she said.

The most active users on Blocket hail from Norrbotten in northern Sweden, averaging advertised goods worth 24,687 kronor per person.

Not far behind are Blocket users from Örebro in central Sweden, who advertise 24,414 kronor worth of goods per person.

Blocket has also become a cash cow for its owners.

In 2007, the Schibstedt publishing giant, which owns 18 percent of Blocket directly, and the rest indirectly through the Aftonbladet and Svenska Dagbladet newspapers, earned 175 million kronor from the site.