Retailers, Big Tech Get Behind Live-Stream Shopping in U.S.

Live-stream shopping has been slow to take off in the U.S., but some feel the sector is at a tipping point. U.S. revenue from the format is projected to reach $20 billion this year and grow to $57 billion in 2025 says Coresight Research. However, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the activity in Asia. McKinsey Digital says outlets like Alibaba can rack up more than $7 billion in 30 minutes. Estimates place the Asia-Pacific market at about $180 billion in live-streamed shopping for 2021. Now big players like Walmart, Target, YouTube and TikTok are getting serious about cracking open the U.S. market, too.

“The practice, which adapts the QVC model of televised home shopping to the digital era, grew popular in the Asia-Pacific region before exploding in China during the pandemic as businesses rushed to connect more directly with homebound consumers,” writes The Wall Street Journal.

“Some U.S. marketers see live shopping as a critical way to build awareness and trust among young consumers, attract new customers and collect data on shoppers, including their behavior online before making a purchase,” notes WSJ. “They also want to be in position if and when live shopping takes off.”

Walmart recently decided to increase marketing for live-stream events following tests that found a halo effect, boosting sales from other products on its website. Walmart is now working with startups Firework and TalkShopLive while continuing to develop an in-house platform, WSJ says.

Amazon has been experimenting with live-shopping events on Twitch. Last month, Target teamed up with NTWRK on “hot drop” featuring fashions from designer Houston White that the retailer says sold out within 30-minutes.

“By year’s end, members of YouTube’s Partner Program in the U.S., UK, Brazil, and India with at least 20,000 subscribers will be able to tag their videos, Shorts, and live streams with shoppable links,” writes Business Insider.

That could mean “a lot more direct shopping options appearing in many places within the app,” says Social Media Today, citing a November 10 live shopping broadcast that will feature “products and presentations from Ulta Beauty, Tula Skincare, and many more.”

And TikTok continues to plow ahead with its live-stream shopping plans, despite a choppy start in the UK. Now TikTok is reportedly teaming in the U.S. with TalkShopLive, which “is steadily becoming a popular online product discovery and shopping destination,” according to Social Media Today. The platform claims that sales made last year through TalkShopLive increased by about 85 percent month-over-month.

One reason live-stream shopping has exploded in China is that a company like Alibaba Group “can serve as a self-contained marketing ecosystem,” tracking consumers “from when they receive a link on its messaging app DingTalk to when they watch a video on the company’s streaming platform Youku to their ultimate purchase of a featured product on its shopping site Taobao,” explains WSJ.

Three New YouTube Streaming, Shopping, and Audio Features, Search Engine Land, 10/17/22
Adidas and TikTok Bring Live-Streamed Shopping Experience to London, The Drum, 10/5/22
How TikTok Has Changed the Way Gen Z Shops Online, Forbes, 10/12/22
IKEA India Launches Live-Streaming Shopping Experience ‘Live From IKEA’, BuzzInContent, 10/10/22

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