Live shopping: micro trend or timeless classic?


The live shopping industry is booming in China, set to rake in a colossal $480 billion in China this year. Although the US has a lot of catching up to do, the industry is set to generate $11 billion in comparison.

There is plenty of scope for this to change, however; platform giants, Facebook, TikTok, Amazon, Twitter and even Pinterest are pushing streaming commerce solutions hard!

But what is the appeal of live stream shopping?

Social media platforms have become an entertainment hub with the average user spending 2 hours and 27 minutes a day or more on platforms alone. This figure is still set to increase with game changing new eComm advancements such as metaverse malls and NFT social platforms like Discord. Realistically, people are bored and spend a considerable amount of time online looking for mental stimulation of socials both at home and at work. So unsurprisingly, the daily scroll has become a key part of human routine.

A customer could be scrolling through Instagram and see a notification from one of their favourite brands telling them to head to their eComm ASAP to shop a latest drop. This time sensitive call to action drives the intrigued customer to the site to shop the hottest products within a limited time frame. The thrill of the exclusive, real time live shopping experience pushes the consumer to make an impulse purchase.

You can imagine that fashion and beauty products are popular across these live shopping channels, but fitness, homeware, tech and even DIY have proved to be hot commodities for streaming commerce consumers.

What makes these shows popular isn't just shopping alone. Rather, it’s the entertainment, the fun, the interest, and the engagement that an interesting and passionate influencer brings to a space. The instinct to buy is secondary to the content. If the content is attractive to the viewer, then they could be compelled to purchase.

Just three years ago streaming commerce was almost nonexistent in the west, and was a small corner of commerce, just 3.5% of all retail e-commerce, in China.

In 2021 it was a $300 billion segment in China at just under 12% of retail sales. In 2023, eMarketer estimates it will be 19.4% and worth over $600 billion. And if we look towards the U.S, the live shopping industry will grow to reach to $25 billion by 2023. It is safe to say that live shoppable video technology will become more familiar to a range of audiences in the West with the capacity to become the new norm.

Live Shopping: Micro Trend or Timeless Classic?

For those worried about live streams ability to stick around, they only need to look to multi-national companies like Google (YouTube), Amazon Live, Meta (Facebook and Instagram) and TikTok to see confident and heavy investment in shoppable video technology.

These solutions are modernising what we have seen previously with QVC. The goal is no longer just to sell, but to achieve a social connection and sense of community with viewers. This personable approach has redefined the "customer" from a sales target to a human being.

But it is not just about gigantic corporations as impressive, competitive tech start-ups are emerging from the wood work. Interactive video platforms like Smartzer and NETWRK are transforming brands ability to sell online with shoppable video technology. Huge house-hold name brands like Chanel, Levi's, Samsung and more are entering the space to reach even more qualified audiences.

“You’ve now basically opened yourself up to a whole lot of consumers that otherwise wouldn’t have considered you or given you more than two seconds of their time,” she says “The type of customers ... that are driven to these live streams ... they’re ready to ... give you a chunk of their time.”

Elma Beganovich says that with streaming commerce.

With the digital world growing at an excitingly fast rate, it takes some imagination to envision how shoppable video technologies will look in ten years. However, right now, the future looks bright for live shopping and could become as normal to us as scrolling on social media.