Livestream shopping is a growing trend among retailers, allowing customers to bid on clothing in real-time from their homes.
- Online shopping is steadily growing, overtaking traditional shopping. Now companies like Poshmark are setting up clothing livestreams that allow customers to buy clothes at the touch of a button.
- This shopping method has been popular in China, but now it is moving to the U.S. as retailers anticipate e-commerce to grow.
- TikTok, YouTube, and eBay are jumping on the trend, promoting shopping livestreams as influencers display their favorite clothes and allow viewers to buy them.
Why it’s news
Influencers already play a role in directing what consumers buy, but livestream shopping brings this trend to an entirely new level. The typical livestream session involves a content creator or brand representative showing off products they enjoy. After showing viewers the product and explaining its benefits, influencers direct viewers to a link where they can buy it themselves.
Livestream shopping took off in China during the pandemic through retail giant Alibaba. The retailer launched its livestream app Taobao Live in 2016, but it was not until 2020 that viewers seriously took an interest. Taobao livestreams resulted in around $7.5 billion in transactions in the first 30 minutes of China’s annual Singles’ Day shopping festival in 2020, CNBC reports.
In 2020, China’s livestream market had an estimated $171 billion value and was projected to reach $400 billion in the next several years.
China’s success has inspired TikTok, Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, YouTube, and eBay to try their own version of livestreaming.
In many cases, companies enjoy higher conversion rates on livestreams than on the typical online shopping experience. Retailers may also have fewer return requests because they have a better idea of what they are buying before they make the purchase.
Alibaba still controls around 35% of the market, but other retailers are quickly taking advantage of the trend. Amazon announced its livestream shopping experience in 2016. Influencers provide an embedded link in the video, and viewers can ask questions about the products live.
Amazon influencers can make a commission after joining the company’s influencer program. Some creators may also receive a flat fee for going live a set number of times. The most popular of these creators can make extra money through brand deals and sponsored videos, CNBC reports.
TikTok and YouTube have their versions of these livestreams. In 2020, TikTok hosted an hour-long livestream featuring Walmart products. Another event in 2021 increased Walmart’s follower count on TikTok by 25%.
However, unlike Amazon and YouTube’s livestreaming options, users have to navigate away from the TikTok app to make a purchase. TikTok Shop, a new feature, could solve this, but the service has faced delays.