Will U.S. livestreaming soon take off like it did in China?
Two-thirds of Chinese consumers bought products via livestream in the past year, according to an AlixPartners survey from October 2020. Will Americans ever catch up?
A McKinsey study from July 2021 estimated that livestreaming has quickly grown to 10 percent of China’s online sales since Alibaba’s Taobao Live launched in 2016, boosted by Singles Day. Following China’s path, McKinsey estimated that livestreaming could account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026.
McKinsey identified two core drivers of live commerce:
- Accelerating conversion: Entertaining and immersive, livestreaming keeps viewers watching longer while guiding the customer journey from awareness to purchase. Tactics such as one-off coupons can drive a sense of urgency.
- Improving brand appeal and differentiation: Livestreaming can elevate a brand’s appeal, drive web traffic and reach younger consumers open to experimenting with new shopping platforms.
In the U.S., shoppable livestreaming gained significant traction as in-person shopping was necessarily restricted due to the pandemic, and some see another leap forward this year.
A recent Adweek article, however, predicts an inflection point for live commerce will likely not arrive for a couple years following more experimentation across Instagram Live, Amazon Live and TikTok as well as numerous niche platforms.
Gartner analyst Ant Duffin told Adweek, “What you’re starting to see more and more now, especially in the livestreaming space, is a proliferation of different executions of livestreaming.”
A BeautyMatter article said livestreaming has to become more seamlessly integrated into social media and e-commerce platforms, like China, to gain greater adoption. The article states, “In Western markets, the experience to date has been more transactional than social.”
A recent study from livestreaming platform Buywith found successful live shopping pushes tend to involve knowledgeable, engaging hosts, multiplatform promotion and exclusive offers.
Andrew Lipsman of eMarketer recently told Morning Brew that he doesn’t expect U.S livestreaming to ever reach China’s level. “People have compared livestream shopping to QVC, but QVC works because it’s on TV,” he said. “With livestream, people have to lean in and really want to engage with it. So the question is, how many people really want to spend a significant amount of time watching these?”
- Chinese Consumers Rally For Singles’ Day But Plan To Shun Foreign Brands, Says Alixpartners’ Survey – AlixPartners
- It’s showtime! How live commerce is transforming the shopping experience – McKinsey
- The evolution of livestreaming shopping in China and what it means on a global scale – eMarketer
- Livestream Shopping Is Poised to Grow Even More in 2022 – Adweek
- 8 Ways Shopping Will Evolve in 2022 – Adweek
- Fliping The Script On Beauty Retail And Social Selling – BeautyMatter
- The most overhyped retail trends of 2021 – Morning Brew
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will livestream shopping in the U.S. see a spike in adoption and availability in 2022? What’s holding back adoption similar to what has happened in China?