What is Live Shopping and how big is it? 2020 facts and stats.

Live stream shopping makes every other retail trend in the past 30 years seem small. See what is it, how big is it and what you can expect from it.

Live Shopping is a relatively new commerce technology that uses live video streaming to connect shoppers and merchants.

At the core it’s kinda like Zoom but less conference-like. On one hand you have a sales representative who can be either a store associate or an influencer. On the other hand you have people that want to buy what they’re selling. Or just watch a live product demo.

Think of it this way – you know how Apple announces their products each year, they invite a bunch of people in the room but also broadcast the presentation globally? Take just the broadcasting part, add shopping buttons in the stream and there you have it – live shopping.

When did live stream shopping start?

There is no clear date of when “live shopping” started but it definitely took off quickly in 2019. With the introduction of live media streaming and with a sprinkle of social media influencer marketing, people started watching their idols live, showcasing products.

The live shopping revolution started in China, where mobile penetration and mobile usage habits have made it easier for ecommerce companies to adapt to switch to live shopping. The leader in the domain is Taobao, with 60% of Chinese shoppers having watched at least one live shopping stream on the platform.

Live shopping share in China by ecommerce platform
Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1130366/china-most-shopped-live-commerce-platforms/

Soon enough the trend started inching into the western world with leading online retailer opening Amazon Live in February 2019. The move was amazingly timed as in just a few weeks the Covid-19 pandemic stroke. Other ecommerce players are slowly adapting to change.

However, Walmart did think make a bid for TikTok and its obvious angle is targeting younger generations through live video shopping. While a great idea, Walmart is not know for its great execution of amazing ideas.

China reaches 900 million internet users and increases online spending with live shopping

One of the key factors in adopting new technologies such as live video shopping for the Chinese Market was its shear size. The lockdowns have increased internet consumption and adoption, with leading areas being Education (almost doubling to 420 milion users in just 10 months) and Live Shopping.

A report by Qin An, head of the Beijing-based Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy, mentions that 265 million Chinese internet users buy goods via live streams starting 2020. What’s most interesting is that this figure amounts to 47% of total stream-viewing audience.

So one in two video streaming watchers are potential video shopping buyers, with this probably increasing in the future. If the same proportion holds in the US, which has 232 million online video viewers, this means there is a potential market for roughly 115 million new customers that are in need for a better experience.

Author: Mihai Mike Dragan

I build digital products. I focus on digital commerce and fintech and I love the concept of internet economy.

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