Hand holding cash busting through wall, wanting to buy
Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock.com

Are you looking to buy something on the internet and don’t want to browse through thousands of product listings? Then consider using “WTB,” which will make your intentions clear.

Want To Buy

WTB stands for “want to buy.” Prospective buyers use this acronym on the internet to specify that they’re looking to purchase something. For example, if you’re on the hunt for an older iPhone, you might post “WTB: iPhone 12, 128GB.” This acronym is the opposite of “WTS,” which stands for “want to sell.”

Another important use of WTB is when you’re looking for a product within a certain budget, but you’re not too particular about the brand or manufacturer. Maybe you need a blue couch or a keyboard vacuum cleaner that costs $100. If you’re okay getting any laptop as long as it has meets your specifications, you might post, “WTB: Windows Laptop, at least i3, 256GB, 8GB of RAM.” This gives prospective sellers a ballpark of what items they can offer you.

WTB is very similar to “LF,” another internet acronym that stands for “looking for.” However, while WTB strictly refers to purchasing something, LF can refer to any search. For example, you might be looking for an apartment to rent, a group to join, or a tip on a great hotel in the area.

RELATED: You Can Browse Facebook Marketplace Without an Account

Where WTB Comes From

WTB likely comes from online classifieds and internet newsgroups during the 1990s to the early 2000s (and possibly earlier). The first definition for WTB in the online slang database Urban Dictionary comes was written in August of 2003 and reads, “Stands for Want to Buy. Used in internet or game channels where trading is involved.”

Nowadays, WTB is a common sight all across the internet. You might even see it in use in private tweets or Instagram Stories on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, as some people prefer to transact with those they already have a connection with.

Buyer’s Market

On the internet, most marketplaces are seller-driven. If you hop onto a platform like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, you’ll immediately notice that most listings are from people selling rather than buying. That is because, for the most part, these websites are a “seller’s market.” This means that you’ll have an easier time buying something that’s already on offer than requesting someone sell you an object.

Couple shopping online with laptop and holding up credit card

However, that doesn’t mean that WTB doesn’t have its place. One of the biggest reasons you might use “WTB” is to bid at a lower price than the market average. When a particular product is very common on the platform, there are likely a ton of competing sellers all vying to sell their products. This turns the market from a “seller’s market” to a “buyer’s market,” where buyers can set the prices they want. If you want to save a buck on these products, posting a WTB and looking for someone who wants to sell quickly might be a good bet.

It’s also a good way of feeling out the market. If you post a “WTB” detailing your price range and the kind of product you want, you’ll get an idea of what items are available for that price. This might help you whether you choose to make a purchase immediately or in the future.

Other Uses of WTB

A common use of WTB is in online multiplayer games, such as MMORPGs. Many of these titles have a dynamic in-game economy that allows players to transact items and currency. The first instance of people using WTB came about in online worlds like Diablo 2. In some games, you’ll frequently see chats and in-game postings from players saying they “WTB” equipment, weapons, and items.

Another important use for WTB is on specialty collector’s forums and communities. Unlike general products like furniture or technology, collectors and enthusiasts often look for obscure, specific items to complete their collection. Since these items are already short in supply, there’s not much point in waiting around for someone to post a “WTS” post. You might have people posting an entire list of items they’re willing to buy and the prices they’re willing to pay for them. You’ll find WTB posts in groups dedicated to trading cards, watches, coins, computer parts, figurines, and more.

How to Use WTB

Using WTB is pretty simple. Just add “WTB” at the start of your post title or headline, then follow with the specific product or a general description of the product. You can use it on a dedicated selling platform or your social media feed.

Here are a few examples of WTB:

  • “WTB: AirPods Pro, used less than one year.”
  • “WTB: Monitor, 27-inches, at least 1080p resolution.”
  • “Hey, I saw your WTB post. Are you still looking for a microwave? I have one for $80.”

Good luck!

Profile Photo for Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
Read Full Bio »