Anything can be sold at online second-hand markets, from furniture and clothing, to baby items like an elephant-shaped pillow.
"Buyers and sellers often meet at subway stations in their neighborhoods. "
"The most attractive part of this platform is that you can trade goods with your neighbors. In this way, you can get to check the quality of the products in person, and buy things at affordable prices."
One of the leading online second-hand market platforms in South Korea saw its monthly active users more than double in just a year, and claims that about one in five Koreans use its app at least once a month.
The company's platform allows users to share and directly trade used goods in their neighborhoods.
"This is a win-win situation both for buyers and sellers. The second-hand market fulfills people's desires to keep consuming different types of products at affordable prices. And… sellers can dispose of unnecessary items, and even get paid for them"
Recently, a new trend has been emerging on the company's online platform. People in the same neighborhood trade their time through a variety of activities including chatting over a cup of coffee or doing sports together like… hiking up a mountain.
A woman named Yeoung-a posted on the platform, looking for a hiking buddy.
"None of my friends are interested in hiking. And… since the app enables me to find a person who lives near me, we can easily meet and go to a nearby mountain.
I found it more convenient and fun to meet up with a person who is familiar with hiking, even though the person is a stranger. "
"Even though it was our first encounter, we had an everyday conversation while climbing the mountain.
With social distancing measures making it hard to meet friends, online encounters like this one are becoming more common.
Experts say there are psychological reasons behind this."
"Humans are social animals, and it is natural for people to look for friends. Ironically, at the same time, people sometimes feel more comfortable sharing their difficulties or inner thoughts with strangers."
However, experts point out that people should take safety precautions when meeting people through online platforms.
"KARROT has been using sophisticating systems including AI technologies to detect improper dialogue as our platform is expanding from exchanging items to a place where people gather offline."
Whatever the potential risks, it appears that online second-hand markets will continue to boom in Korea for some time being.
Seo Eunkyung, Arirang News.