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We can do pretty much anything we want online these days. From buying antiques to ordering Mexican food, online marketplaces are easily accessible and make it simple to find a bargain online.
Online flea markets have grown in popularity over the past decade and mean bargain hunters can find unique treasures from the comfort of their home. eBay – the world’s largest online flea market – boasts more than 182 million users.
Rather than visiting your local thrift store, you can browse on sites like eBay and Letgo to find all kinds of items, listed by millions of users. Here is our pick of the best online flea markets.
Why Are Flea Markets Popular?
People spend their Sunday morning wandering through stalls at their local flea markets rather than lying lazily in bed. The question you might be asking is, “Why?” What makes flea markets so great, and why do so many people visit them (both in person and online)?
Finding Stuff You Need
Flea markets are overflowing with bargain items. You can almost always find something that you are looking for. When looking for common household goods or specific items, buyers are often looking for a cheaper alternative than buying from a store.
Flea market goods are often second-hand and therefore come at a fraction of the retail cost, allowing you to find bargains on almost every item you may need.
Finding Vintage and Antique Items
Some buyers go to flea markets without a specific need. They simply have an affinity towards vintage and antique items. Buying antiques from an antique store can often be costly. However, flea markets give buyers the opportunity to find some unique treasures on a budget.
Items that are vintage and antique can be difficult to come across at regular retailers. Therefore, buyers looking for such items often go to flea markets where they are more common.
Why Online Flea Markets Work
You can find some magnificent treasures at your local flea market. However, on cold, wet days or in the blistering heat, some of the enjoyment is taken away. For sellers there is also the added pain of getting up early, lugging around their goods and setting up their stall.
Over the last decade, online flea markets have grown in popularity. They give buyers and sellers the same opportunity to find treasures and make money, but in a more convenient way. For both buyers and sellers, there is also the added advantage of a wider user base.
As sellers across the entire country list their items, buyers can scroll through millions of listings and narrow down their searches with filters. Items can then be posted to buyers from across the US, giving sellers a greater chance of finding buyers for the goods they are offering.
How Do Online Flea Markets Work (For Buyers and Sellers)?
As online flea markets don’t give you the opportunity to inspect an item in person, they operate a little differently to local flea markets. There are a lot of online flea markets to browse. They all have a slightly different process for becoming a buyer or seller. However, in general, the way they work is similar.
Online Flea Markets for Buyers
Looking for an item on an online flea market is usually a very simple process. Most platforms have search bars where you can type in a keyword for the item you are looking for; for example, ‘blue dress’.
A lot of platforms then offer you the option to filter results by things such as size (where relevant), distance, price, brand, etc. You can then scroll through your results until you stumble upon the bargain you are looking for.
Every platform has a slightly different buying process. Some require you to bid on an item, others have items for set prices where you can simply buy them in a similar way that you would on an online retailer. Other platforms require you to message the seller, offering them a price.
For buyers, most platforms require you to set up an account and add payment details. A lot of platforms have PayPal integration, though some require payment by credit cards. However, there are also platforms that accommodate local sellers, where you can collect items in person and pay in cash.
Online Flea Markets for Sellers
There are different types of sellers on online flea markets. These range from people having a clear-out and selling off unwanted items, to full online stores.
Sellers need to set up an account on almost all platforms. They will need to add payment details for payments from items sold and to pay any listing fees the platform may have.
As your buyer may not get the chance to see the item in person before they purchase, when you create your listing it is important to give as much accurate information as possible. Add detailed photos, and give a well-written description. Describe any faults or cosmetic marks on the item and its overall condition.
You then list your item and wait for either bids (if you are auctioning it) or a sale. Then you simply collect your money and send the item to the buyer. Easy, right?
Our Pick of 22 Online Flea Markets
We love online flea markets. Here is our pick of the seven best.
eBay must come at the top of the list. It is one of the most well-known and successful online flea markets. It is a brilliant and simple-to-use platform loved by buyers and sellers alike.
According to eBay, as of mid-2019 it had over 1.3 billion listings. It offers listings for both auctions and ‘Buy it now’ (immediate sale) across a huge range of products from vintage records to kitchen appliances.
Buyers and sellers provide feedback to each other, which can help both parties establish that they are buying/selling from/to legitimate people. eBay also has excellent buyer protection, giving buyers confidence to purchase with the support of a refund should the item not match its listing.
eBay is also a top platform for sellers to make money. According to Indeed.com, the average eBay seller in America makes $20,000 a year.
Etsy is a platform that primarily focuses on hand-crafted, artisan items. Buyers often set up stores and sell their hand made jewelry, clothing and art through the site. Some people make a living through these stores, and others do it as a hobby.
As a buyer, it gives you the chance to find truly unique items to personalize your home or give as thoughtful gifts.
Letgo’s tagline is “No need to visit the flea market to find the best deals on preowned items!”, which pretty much sums up its platform.
It is a local buy/sell platform that has both an app and a website. Unlike eBay and Etsy, it is totally free for sellers to add listings and doesn’t charge a commission on sold items.
There is a huge range of categories for buyers to browse through, and as it is a local site you can often collect items in person. This gives you the added bonus of being able to inspect an item before you purchase it to make sure it is in good condition and exactly what you want.
Shpock is very similar to Letgo, offering a platform for you to buy or sell items locally. Like Letgo, it is also free to use and has a huge range of categories.
Shpock is incredibly popular. It is a relatively new app (compared with sites like eBay), but according to Shpock they have over 10 million users and their app has been downloaded over 50 million times.
5. Facebook Marketplace
In recent years, the popular social media site Facebook added a marketplace for users to buy and sell items locally.
As it already has a gigantic userbase of 2.45 billion users, this gives buyers and sellers the opportunity to reach a huge range of people and find a great variety of items.
vFlea is a virtual flea market with buy, sell and trade options. The site has PayPal integration, which helps both buyers and sellers keep their money secure.
There is a huge selection of items on the marketplace. It is a platform where you can find a lot of great vintage, antique and one-of-a-kind items.
Srchie is a platform aimed at buyers rather than sellers. Rather than having 50 tabs open on your browsers to search through all the platforms, Srchie offers a stress-free way to find the bargain you are looking for.
The platform searches through sites like eBay, Amazon, and even Goodwill for your search term. It also has great filtering options, where you can narrow down your search by categories and prices.
8. The Saleroom
The Saleroom is an online auction website that allows people to buy and sell collectibles and antiques from home. The site has both live and timed auctions so there are multiple ways to score your next collectible.
For buyers, the process is quite simple. All you need to do is make an account and tell the site what your maximum price is for an item. Then, they’ll do all the bidding for you and let you know if you win! Buyers usually have to pay tax, a 3% online commission, and often a buyer’s premium, which is calculated at the end of the auction.
Bonanza is an online marketplace that allows businesses to sell a wide range of products directly to consumers. The site is seller-friendly as it doesn’t charge any fees until an item is sold.
With Bonanza, you can buy or sell pretty much anything, just like you would on other popular marketplaces. For buyers, the site even has some fun offers, including a page dedicated to free items. Plus, Bonanza’s simplified fee structure and helpful tools make it a great option for online retailers and small businesses.
Amazon is a massive multinational company and the world’s largest online marketplace. With Amazon, you can buy or sell pretty much any commercial product to people around the world.
The main advantage to Amazon is its sheer scale. Since the company is so large, it attracts millions of users with its discounted shipping offers and consumer-friendly platform. With an Amazon Prime account, you can also access other benefits, including music, TV, audiobooks, and more.
Mercari is a marketplace app where people can buy and sell items with ease. To sell an item on Mercari, you simply need to take a few photos, add a description, and create a price. Once an item is sold, the site charges a flat 10% fee and makes it easy for you to print out a shipping label.
For buyers, shopping on Mercari is simple and fun. As you browse the list of available items, you can click the “buy” button to make a purchase. Or, you can send a message to the seller with a lower offer if you’re ready to negotiate.
Maxsold is an online auction site that specializes in estate sales. The site has team members across the United States and Canada to help sellers clear-out a home and get the best price for their item.
Interested buyers can join the site to bid on various items, including vintage furniture, art, and technology. Maxsold’s auctions are all timed, so you can place a bid on specific items from any estate sale on the site. Then, the site arranges a local pick up for the buyer for a hassle-free process.
Fleabay is basically the online version of a flea market and classifieds section. On Fleabay, you can buy and sell items online just as you would if you were in a real flea market.
The site has thousands of items for sale, including antiques, furniture, sporting goods, and toys. Or, you can browse the site’s classifieds if you’re looking to buy a home or find an apartment to rent. Once buyers find something they like, they can reach out to the seller to arrange payment and pick up or shipping.
Thredup is an online consignment and thrift store where you can buy and sell clothing. Thredup got its start as a way to connect savvy shoppers with used clothing to reduce the fashion industry’s impact on the environment.
The site allows you to shop for clothing from over 35,000 brands, including big names like Gap and Gucci, so it’s a good place to get clothing on the cheap. They also make it easy to clean out your closet and sell your items if you don’t have the time to set up Thredup store on your own.
Poshmark is a used clothing online retail marketplace. On Poshmark, you can search for discounted used clothing from top brands, like Nike and Louis Vuitton in just seconds.
If you’re a seller, you can download the app, take photos of your items, and list them in just minutes. Buyers can browse the app or the online store to find the perfect item. Plus, Poshmark offers expedited shipping, payment protection, and free authentication on luxury items.
Goodwill is one of the original second-hand stores in the United States. Although they are best known for their brick-and-mortar locations, Goodwill also has an online shop.
But, there is no way to sell directly on Goodwill’s website. Instead, you can donate items to a Goodwill store and the company will sell them for you. On Goodwill’s website, buyers can bid on individual items in a timed online auction. They even have a whole section for items that charge just $0.01 for shipping!
5miles is an app that was started to simplify the online second-hand marketplace experience. The app makes it easy to browse for and buy second-hand items from the comfort of home
The service also charges low listing fees for sellers, starting at just $0.99 for certain items. 5miles connects sellers with potential buyers in their area so you can send, receive, and accept offers with ease. The app also has a feedback system so buyers can know that they’re purchasing from a real, reliable person.
TIAS or “The Internet Antique Shop” is one of the original online marketplaces for buying and selling antiques and jewelry. The site got its start in 1995 and has been supporting lovers of antiques ever since.
With the site, you can browse listings and purchase valuable antiques from sellers around the world. Anyone interested in selling on TIAS simply has to create a store and list items with quality photos to attract buyers.
19. Ruby Lane
Ruby Lane is an online store for collectibles, art, antiques, jewelry, furniture, and more. The site has over 2,000 individual shop owners that sell hundreds of thousands of dollars of merchandise each day.
What makes Ruby Lane unique is that it’s a curated site. This means that each item that’s posted on the site needs to be pre-screened by the company’s in-house professionals. Therefore, Ruby Lane helps ensure that buyers only purchase quality items from their site.
Zibbet is a service that offers an online marketplace for artists to sell their handmade items around the world. When artists choose to sell with Zibbet, they can also simultaneously list their products on multiple sites, like Etsy, A.C. more, and Stich.
This makes it easy for sellers to quickly update and manage their products on a variety of platforms. For buyers, Zibbet offers an easy to use online store where you can find quality hand-made goods.
Selency is an online marketplace that specializes in second-hand home decor. On the site, you can find quality furniture and decorations from professional dealers without leaving home. The company started out in France and has since expanded to other parts of Europe.
They have over 100,000 products to choose from at any given time. Plus, the furniture on Selency is perfect for a wide variety of styles, from Scandinavian hygge to vintage design. Some sellers will choose to ship from Europe to the USA, but the cost of shipping is at the buyer’s expense.
ArtFire is an online retailer and marketplace that specializes exclusively in handmade goods. The website is the result of a collaboration between indie sellers in the Tuscon, Arizona Arts District who wanted to reach a wider audience of potential buyers.
With ArtFire, you can find unique items for home decor, entertainment, jewelry, weddings, and more. The site connects buyers directly to thousands of independent creates and artists around the world through their marketplace platform.
Strike Yourself a Bargain
Flea markets are great places to strike a bargain. You can find vintage treasures and sell off your unwanted items. Thanks to modern technology and some savvy developers, you no longer need go out in all weathers in search of your local flea market.
Instead, you can search for all kinds of items online, from the comfort of your home. Sellers can now sit back and watch the money roll in, without the unnecessary hassle of setting up stalls and haggling with customers.