While live streaming in the western world focuses mainly on gaming and entertainment, it’s a whole other story in China. The live streaming e-commerce business in China has become massive and is only increasing in value. Over 430 million people in China, a third of the population, viewed live streams in 2019. Moreover, its massive success has only been propagated by the 2020 lockdown, especially when many people were stuck at home with little to do.
Live streaming e-commerce is a method of selling anything from clothing to food through a real-time live stream. E-commerce live stream presenters are often popular and charismatic influencers who incorporate some entertainment while selling products. For instance, many sing, dance, call out audience members and invite guest celebrities onto their live streams. The top e-commerce live streamers have even become celebrities in China. Li Jiaqi (“Lipstick King”) attracted media attention by trying out 380 lipsticks in a seven-hour live stream, quickly garnering millions of devoted fans. On the other hand, Wei Ya (Viya) has been dubbed China’s live streaming queen for her shopping broadcasts.
The live streams are housed on several notable online shopping sites such as Taobao Live, Douyin, Baidu and JD.com. The products that are featured are mostly cosmetics, clothing and accessories, as well as food. Alibaba’s Taobao Live is easily the most popular e-commerce live streaming site, allowing users to view live streams and shop simultaneously.
Many brands, foreign and Chinese alike, are attempting to jump in on the e-commerce live streaming trend as there are several benefits. Besides the massive growing audience of potential consumers, e-commerce live streaming is a way for brands to promote themselves and their products and widen their customer range.