Livestream shopping took off in China during the pandemic, proof that interactive virtual shopping shows no signs of slowing even as stores reopen.

WHAT HAPPENED: Stores in China are reopening, but new platforms for virtual livestream shopping continue to surface. In 2019, China’s livestreaming ecommerce sales reached $61 billion, which analysts expect to double in 2020.

WHY IT MATTERS

  • Consumers will continue to be cautious in public settings, which makes live streaming a worthwhile investment. While livestream shopping was growing in China before the coronavirus, during the height of the pandemic users spent an average of 120 minutes watching product livestreams on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok. With people at home and social media usage at an all-time high, livestream shopping is more engaging than an ecommerce site and offers an interactive shopping experience that is especially attractive to GenZ consumers. Although livestream shopping hasn’t had the same impact in the U.S., consumer brands need to invest in new ways to showcase products and interact with consumers through virtual platforms.
  • While quarantines propelled live streaming forward in China, back in the U.S., QVC reminded Americans of the benefits of tv shopping. Direct-to-consumer brands, who have typically avoided these legacy platforms, are now coming on board. Brands like Quip and Bombas are selling their products on QVC to reach a different audience via an advertising channel that is more cost-effective than Facebook or Google. QVC and its subsidiary HSN served 15.2 million customers globally last year, with 93 percent of sales coming from repeat customers. QVC’s consistent growth over almost four decades shows that pitch-style programming and real-time interactions with sellers will continue to be important.