Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Craigslist leading rise in online classified ads

April 1, 2009

At least one thing is going up, not down, in this U.S. downturn, and that’s online visits to classifieds web sites — fueled by the recession itself.

According to Internet tracker Hitwise, traffic to U.S. classifieds sites rose 84 percent in February, driven by — you guessed it — Craigslist.com.

Craigslist’s marketshare increased a whopping 90 percent year-over-year in February, while that of other classified ad sites gained only 22 percent. 

Hitwise didn’t break out what folks were looking for in February, but online classifieds – which have been stealing thunder from newspapers for years — are now the go-to spot for apartment seekers, job hunters and those just coveting that old (but still lovely!) wicker set gathering dust in your garage. 

It’s not clear how, or if, this all translates to dollars. The vast majority of Craigslist postings are free (with the exception of job posts, New York brokered apartment listings and erotic services) so a boost in traffic may be just that — traffic.

The booming Craigslist business could be attributed to new local versions of the popular site, as well as more lower-income consumers participating, Hitwise found.
    
“The site’s recent growth is being fueled by lower-income segments, suggesting that Craigslist may become less of a destination site for wealthy people and more of a necessity for lower-income groups as the economy continues to sour,” according to the report.

Only three non-Craigslist sites made it to the top 100 list of most popular classified web sites for February. They were Backpage.com, Tractorhouse.com (anyone for a used tractor?) and Classifiedads.com.

Absent from that list was Kijiji, eBay‘s classified site found in dozens of countries, including the United States. Ouch.

 


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