Historically, the act of bartering has flourished in times of monetary crisis, such as when the currency in a country has become unstable (e.g. Hyperinflation or a deflationary spiral) or currency is simply unavailable for conducting normal purchasing transactions.
It should come as no surprise then, that the number of people using bartering websites has exploded as of late. With more people struggling financially, families are avoiding the department stores and shopping malls and doing their shopping right from their home computers. Of course, in most cases, you can’t really call it shopping, because there is no money changing hands.