What is Facebook Marketplace and How Does it Work? An In-Depth Look for Small Businesses

As a consultant dedicated to helping small and medium-sized businesses succeed, I often get asked about online sales channels. One platform that comes up frequently is Facebook Marketplace. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll explain what Marketplace is, how it works, and the pros and cons for small business sellers.

A Quick Look at Marketplace‘s Growth

Since launching in 2016, Facebook Marketplace has skyrocketed to dominate the peer-to-peer ecommerce space. As of 2022, over 1 billion people actively use Marketplace each month. To put that in perspective, that‘s more monthly users than the populations of the US, Canada, and Mexico combined!

Marketplace‘s massive user base puts it way ahead of competitors like Craigslist and OfferUp. And that user base continues to rapidly expand. According to Facebook‘s data, Marketplace grew over 100% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021.

Accessing and Using Facebook Marketplace

Marketplace is seamlessly integrated into the Facebook app and website. Any Facebook user over 18 can access it. To start browsing and buying:

  • On mobile, tap the Marketplace shortcut on the menu bar
  • On desktop, click Marketplace in the left sidebar
  • Use search bar to find specific items
  • Filter by location, category, price, etc.

To sell an item, tap the "Sell Something" button. You‘ll be walked through creating a listing with photos, title, description, and price.

Connecting with interested buyers happens through Facebook‘s messaging. You‘ll get notifications when users inquire about or purchase your listing.

A Look at Top Products Sold on Marketplace

The variety of items sold on Marketplace is immense. Based on Facebook‘s internal data, here are some of the top categories:

  • Vehicles – cars, trucks, ATVs, boats
  • Furniture – tables, couches, cabinets
  • Clothing and accessories
  • Home decor – art, lamps, rugs
  • Sporting goods – golf clubs, bikes, treadmills
  • Electronics – phones, laptops, gaming consoles
  • Baby/kid items – strollers, toys, clothes

Since sellers are individuals rather than businesses, you can find truly one-of-a-kind pieces on Marketplace. For buyers, it‘s an online garage sale to discover hidden gems.

The Benefits and Limitations of Marketplace

As a small business owner myself, I‘ve bought and sold products on Marketplace extensively. Based on my experience, here are the key advantages and disadvantages to weigh:


  • No selling fees – Facebook does not charge any fees, so you make 100% of your profit.
  • Local sales – Buyers must pickup locally, saving you shipping costs and hassle.
  • Large reach – Tap into Facebook‘s huge user base to quickly find buyers.
  • Feedback system – Reviews help identify reliable sellers and buyers. I check these closely.


  • No payment system – Must handle payments separately from Facebook. I use PayPal or cash.
  • Quality control – Items may not match photos or descriptions. As a seller, I‘m very detailed.
  • Competitive markets – Niche and unique products have the best odds of selling.
  • Limited support – Facebook won‘t mediate transaction issues. You must solve disputes directly.

Tips for Small Business Sellers on Marketplace

As a small business owner selling handmade crafts locally, I‘ve learned a few best practices for succeeding on Marketplace:

  • Great photos – Use natural lighting, neutral backgrounds. Multiple angles show details.
  • Detailed descriptions – Be transparent about any flaws. Mention brand, dimensions, materials.
  • Competitive pricing – Research similar items. Price just below market rate. Allow room to negotiate.
  • Respond quickly – Answer buyer questions within 24 hours. Being responsive builds trust.
  • Meet in public – For safety, meet to exchange items at a coffee shop or police station parking lot.

Marketplace Sales Volume Continues to Grow

Facebook does not release exact sales figures for Marketplace. However, third-party estimates give a sense of its massive scale. In 2021, Marketplace facilitated an estimated $40 billion in global sales volume according to data analytics firm SimilarWeb.

To put this in context, eBay reported $85 billion in merchandise volume for 2021. So Marketplace is already driving about half the sales of eBay while continuing hypergrowth.

Final Recommendations

Given Marketplace‘s explosive growth and engaged user base, I recommend small businesses seriously consider testing it out. The lack of selling fees means you have nothing to lose. Just follow best practices like great photos, descriptions, and communication.

While Marketplace lacks the protections of managed marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon, its sheer scale presents a huge opportunity. You can access hundreds of millions of motivated buyers—and make valuable connections right within your local community.