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Letgo, Wallapop merger threatens Craigslist, Close5 as mobile classified space crowds

As the mobile classifieds sector grows, the merger of peer-to-peer selling applications letgo and Wallapop puts the heat on competitors such as Craigslist and eBay’s Close5 with the potential to create a go-to destination.

Consumer interest for on-demand services through mobile has provided fuel for the growth of classifieds platforms and peer-to-peer marketplaces. Now, as two of the top shopping apps merge, letgo and Wallapop could become a force to be reckoned with.

“The mobile classified space is experiencing rapid success, spawned by heightened consumer demand for purchase experiences that are instantaneous, convenient and real-time,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “Since most Internet usage is now done on mobile devices, it is imperative that apps like letgo are mobile friendly.

“The user-friendly, hyper-local classifieds of letgo looks like a promising venture – hence the $100 million in funding,” she said. “The merger of letgo and Wallapop will aid them in efforts to become the go-to destination for classified.

“As this market space continues to tighten and becomes crowded, competitors like Nextdoor will be forced to find new ways to differentiate themselves and or monetize their current offerings.”

Classifieds competition
The mobile classifieds app Wallapop will be absorbed into the similar and past competitor letgo, creating serious competition for similar services. The new company will operate under the letgo brand name and entities.

The merger of the two marketplaces was a good match, as the two brands and platforms had a relatively similar look and operation.

Wallapop and letgo both allow users to sell items locally through the app. The marketplaces allow users to scroll through items put up for sale on the app, based on the distance of the seller.

The on-demand culture of today allows these platforms to flourish. Consumers simply need to scroll and select, and have the ability to pick up their purchases within a small window of time due to the items’ proximity.

The streamlined messaging system on letgo allows users to connect with sellers immediately. With Wallapop only launching in 2013, and letgo in 2015, the rapid growth of these platforms shows their effectiveness, making the merger extremely nerve-wracking to competitors.

The popularity of the two apps are likely due to their trendy branding and the simplicity of the user experience.

Closing in on classifieds
EBay’s Close5 classifieds mobile app was originally gaining traction in October of 2015, with nearly 3 million downloads in the United States as of the end of the third quarter, a ten-times increase from the previous quarter (see more).

EBay Classifieds teamed up with search advertising network adMarketplace to augment the search experience for mobile and tablet users as the site experiences an influx of visitors from mobile platforms (see more).

“Mobile applications that feature robust and easy-to-use, intuitive capabilities are finding traction in this space,” Ms. Sossong said. “The ability to conduct business in real-time using locational functionality is vital, as consumers are no longer satisfied with stagnant platforms like Craigslist that have large lag times associated with making a purchase.”