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.

Blocket ads worth more than Estonia

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.


Merkel calls for new EU-US trade deal

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Wednesday for a sweeping new free trade deal between the EU and the United States, after previous efforts faltered amid mass protests and transatlantic tensions.

Merkel calls for new EU-US trade deal
An 'Origin: Germany' sign on a package. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Jens Kalaene

Against the backdrop of revived ties with Washington since President Joe Biden took office, Merkel said that both sides stood to benefit from such a pact.

READ ALSO: Merkel invites Biden to Germany ‘as soon as pandemic allows’

“I’ve always advocated a trade agreement between the US and the EU,” she told a foreign policy congress, noting that the 27-member bloc had hammered out such agreements with regions around the world.

Merkel, who will leave office after a general election in September, said it would be “very, very sensible” to use the template of the EU-Canada deal which cut tariffs and promotes exports to deepen economic relations with the United States.

“There is much to do for transatlantic cooperation in a turbulent world which needs partnerships,” she said.

“That’s why I’m pleased that we have new possibilities with the new (Biden) administration which the German government would like to seize.”

Years-long talks on an ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) stalled following widespread protests in Germany, France and Austria over fears it would undermine EU standards on food and health.

They collapsed for good under US President Donald Trump who took a confrontational approach toward the EU on trade matters.

Biden has expressed a keen interest in restoring transatlantic relations including trade cooperation, even as he promotes a “Buy American” message European officials have seen as protectionist.

READ ALSO: What could Joe Biden as US president mean for Germany?