The coronavirus pandemic led to unprecedented growth in e-commerce, including the surge of new trends in the sector. Among the most prominent are social commerce and live commerce. As the name suggests, livestream e-commerce uses video content on digital platforms to promote or sell products and services in real time. Unlike home shopping TV, this format is entirely digital, allowing for two-way, interactive communication. In this way, users can almost instantly purchase any offer they see broadcast, greatly facilitating the buying process.
From China to the world
Although live shopping was already popular in China before the COVID-19 outbreak, pairing entertainment with e-commerce was the magic formula for its take-off when strict confinement ensued. In 2022, the gross merchandise value (GMV) of live-streaming commerce amounted to about 3.5 trillion yuan, nearly eight times the value recorded before the health crisis. Far from temporary, sales through this channel are forecast to keep growing, accounting for about a quarter of all GMV online shopping in China by 2023.
It did not take long for China's success story to pique the interest of retailers and consumers across the globe. Europe, for example, recorded one of the highest increases in livestream purchases since the pandemic onset, surpassing North America and the Middle East. In the United States, live shopping is rapidly developing. According to estimates, livestream e-commerce sales in the U.S. would reach 17 billion dollars in 2022, a figure expected to more than triple in the next four years. In South America, Brazil has also witnessed rising interest in live commerce. During a 2021 survey, one in ten Brazilians said they had attended a livestream shopping session, while 90 percent expressed their intention to do so in the future.
A groundbreaking experience
In China, live shopping allowed vendors to showcase their products and interact with customers facing severe movement restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. In this context, not only did livestream shopping help weather the crisis, it forged a new way of doing business, unlocking a world of opportunities for retailers. When asked about their main objectives in pursuing livestreaming strategies in 2022, more than half of global retail companies highlighted wanting to deliver a better purchasing experience and achieve greater customer engagement.
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