Let’s imagine having a conversation with your favorite influencer and receiving a clickable product suggestion immediately. That’s how Taobao live streams generated $7.5 billion in transactions during the first 30 minutes of Singles’ Day 2020 — a 400% jump from the year before. Welcome to the next wave of the eCommerce revolution.

Live streaming: a game-changer for businesses

According to Insider, customers are drawn to watch, interact, and buy during live-stream purchasing. Gen-Z and millennials, who have grown up with cutting-edge internet technology, are the demographics most comfortable with live commerce and are mainly responsible for its growth.

Customers may ask questions and get real-time responses through live streaming, which can assist them in making better-informed decisions about their purchases. Additionally, it gives businesses the chance to interact with their audience more deeply and authentically exhibit their offerings.

And for businesses adopting technology, the interactive sessions have shown they can boost revenue, attract site traffic, and promote brand uniqueness. According to a 2021 McKinsey report, livestream shopping generates conversion rates approaching 30% — up to 10 times higher than conventional eCommerce.

Coresight Research’s report also shows that global live commerce sales are expected to reach $171 billion USD in 2023, up from $60 billion USD in 2019. This highlights the growing importance of live streaming in the eCommerce industry.


The evolution of live-streaming shopping worldwide

According to Statista, livestream shopping was first popularized in China some years ago, where it attracted 469 million users by June 2022, or 45% of the country’s internet users. By the end of 2023, the industry there is projected to generate an astounding $726 billion.

From China, the livestream shopping phenomena has spread to Southeast Asia as more consumers seek interactive shopping experiences within the comfort of their homes, with some impressive insights from the recent Milieu Insight’s report:

  • Across the region, 82% have ever watched a live-stream sales video, among which 48% watch them at least once a week.
  • Vietnamese consumers watch livestream sales videos most frequently (65%) followed by consumers in Thailand (57%) and Malaysia (48%).
  • 63% of those who have watched livestream sales videos have made a purchase, again, the highest in Vietnam (79%) and lowest in Singapore (40%).
  • Consumers in Singapore and Thailand tend to purchase “Grocery & Food” via live stream, more so than others in the region.
  • 43% of shoppers in the region said that when they watch livestream sales videos, they already know what they want to buy, but are open to buying other products that interest them.

Retailers in the West as a whole are still lagging behind China in the race for live commerce, but early adopters are already beginning to generate sizable revenues. More and more businesses are using these live events to interact with customers, foster communities, generate buzz, and ultimately increase sales. their goods, particularly in the beauty and fashion industries, as a result of China’s example.


Learn from the leaders

The introduction of live shopping on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok was among the major advancements in live streaming last year. For livestream viewers to learn more and make purchases within the app, new additions to Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops enable a call to action.

The success in Asia has piqued the interest of digital platforms and brands in the U.S. looking to imitate similar success. Platforms like Amazon, TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube have so far introduced retail live stream capabilities and events, while businesses from different industries like Klarna and Sephora are experimenting in the market.

Prior to the epidemic, Amazon was one of the first significant platforms to experiment with livestream shopping in 2019 with Amazon Live. The site broadcast live programs where influencer hosts showcased items from Amazon, inspiring further specialty events and streams with Black-owned companies and creators.

What’s next for live commerce?

Talking about the future of live commerce, McKinsey predicts some key developments in the next few years:

  • Micro and nano-influencers: The greatest hosts aren’t necessarily big-name influencers and celebrities with millions of followers since they’re expensive to employ. At a cheaper cost, utilizing influencers with a small but devoted following may create a more personal and trustworthy relationship with consumers.
  • Expansion into new sectors: Industries including healthcare, engineering, finance, and eventually B2B sectors are anticipated to step in as live commerce expands its reach.
  • Innovative format: The shopping experience may be enhanced by augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which let customers view products from all sides.


New technology and trends are constantly developing, hastening the progress of eCommerce. Long-term success is probable for brands that stay on the cutting edge and adopt emerging technological developments. Consumers should anticipate more advanced and immersive live-streaming experiences in 2023, which will make shopping even more interesting and involved.

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