Livestreaming E-Commerce: China reached 560 Million Users in March 2020

04/05/2020

E-commerce livestreaming sessions topped 4 million in the first quarter reaching 560 million people, according to China’s Commerce Ministry. Taobao, transactions grew more than 160% year-over-year in March

 

The number of online live-streaming service users in China reached 560 million as of March 2020, accounting for 62% of the country’s total number of 904 million internet users, an increase of 163 million from the end of 2018, according to a report on China’s internet development. In more detail, e-commerce livestreaming sessions topped 4 million in the first quarter, according to China’s Commerce Ministry

As people around the world are blocked from leaving their homes, consumers are moving online to do their shopping and livestreaming has grown to become a driving force in China’s e-commerce sector. From a personal trainer who livestreamed her\his daily workout to the Shanghai Fashion Week and the Strawberry Music Festival, among other events, livestreaming has become one of the major trends of 2020. And companies are seeking business too. Livestreaming e-commerce has also grown as many physical retail shops have remained closed for months. According to data, more than 4 million online sales promotion shows were livestreamed in the first quarter. 

 

China is most digitized and connected country in the world.  Chinese users spent over 446 minutes online, which is over seven hours per day, but this data has increased by 21.5%  in February as compared to January. 

 

Online platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao marketplace, Kuaishou and Pinduoduo have reported an explosion in livestreaming activity. Taobao said the number of new merchants using the site’s livestreaming platform surged by more than eight times in one month — from January to February, while transactions grew more than 160% year-over-year in March.

Livestreaming is nor the direct consequence of this life digitalization nor only the ultimate entertainment format but it is also the internet’s next form of digital communication. Why livestreaming is so welcomed in China? First livestreaming is the “go-to” option for Chinese consumers when seeking out new products and deciding on what to buy. It is an essential part of the discovery journey, unlike for consumers in Western countries.

Second, livestreaming allows experts to demonstrate the products when being used and talk through their functions in the liveliest way possible. Kols are a part of the live-streaming success. “If there’s a livestream without a (key opinion leader), then it can’t really last,” said Xu Lei, a spokesperson for Xiaohongshu, but the love for convenience of Chinese consumers was one of the major reasons if this success, moreover, there is a feeling of authenticity that comes from live streaming.

 

Before the pandemic outbreak, livestreaming was only seen as an option for brands to reach Chinese consumers, but now has become very integral to how people shop.

 

We can assume that live-streaming is a type of entertaining that creates proximity between a brand and its customer base. It is so efficient that pretty much every single Chinese social media and e-commerce platform has launched a livestreaming tool and the current healthcare crisis is a wakeup call for retailers.

Before the pandemic outbreak, livestreaming was only seen as an option for brands to reach Chinese consumers, but now has become very integral to how people shop. According to experts, it is going to be a new normal channel to drive new sales, create new revenue streams. Within e-commerce generally, livestreaming-driven sales likely only account for about 2%, estimated Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance. For Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, he expects the figure is near 5% and will rise this year.

Livestreaming e-commerce still offers growth opportunities in an economic slowdown. “I think this market has just begun,” said Zhang Guowei, head of JD Live — the livestreaming arm of JD.com. It can definitely release more spending, he said to CNBC. “E-commerce livestreaming will become a daily (aspect) of a merchant’s brand, a new kind of brand marketing scenario.”

 

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