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2020, the year of livestream shopping

By Angela Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Dec 22, 2020


Livestream commerce has exploded in 2020, boosted by brands seeking new ways to deliver digital interactive shopping experiences to consumers who have been confined to their homes. The commercial opportunity for brands is significant, with China’s Commerce Ministry reporting that the number of e-commerce livestreaming sessions topped 4 million in Q1 2020, with TaoBao Live, Kuaishou and Pinduoduo all reporting a boom in livestreaming activity, as per data analysed by CNBC.

Outside of China, livestream commerce has been relatively slow to take off, although retailers in Southeast Asia including Lazada and Shopee have begun to successfully add livestream commerce offerings to their platforms. Limited time and limited quantity offers are key to driving livestream success, with low prices and good visual presentation the leading reasons why Chinese consumers shop livestream sales, according to Statista.

Shanghai Fashion week back in March was fully livestreamed on Taobao live, with viewers able to pre-order the featured clothes and shop from the designers’ existing collections. Livestream shopping can combine events with commerce and open them up to a global audience. Given this potential, we expect to see the popularity of livestream commerce continue in a post-pandemic world and see retailers from the rest of the world begin to get on board.

The livestream shopping movement has become so strong in China, that it has been regulated

In other regions, such as North America, this trend started to pick up later on, around the beginning of the summer. In July 2020, Google’s in-house startup incubator Area 120 launched the mobile-only Shoploop, which allows users to discover new beauty and fashion products by scrolling through 90-second videos from creators. Two months later, The Lobby, an early-stage venture backed by First Round Capital debuted a similar video–centric marketplace, with over 30 boutique brands selling products through short videos created by the U.S.’ most fashion-forward new-generation influencers.

Popshop Live and Glamhive tap into the lvestream shopping trend in the U.S.

As highlighted by PYMNTS, two new companies created to capitalise on this trend and worth closely watching are Popshop Live and Glamhive.

Popshop Live raised 3 million dollars in funding in July, bringing the total amount raised to 4.5 million dollars. Founded by Danielle Li, Popshop Live will allow sellers to create and host their own shopping channel on the platform. Li says the company has been attracting users and investors as the pandemic has forced brick-and-mortar retailers online and required online retailers to step up their customer connections. The company has been stressing its ability for any company to set up livestreaming events on its platform. Sellers can rely on self-education to help them grow organically and sustainably and ensure they have tools they need for success. Tools include real-time inventory management, gamified features, real-time performance stats, and support to help navigate the new world of livestreaming retail.

On a related note, Glamhive has developed proprietary software that allows people to work with stylists anywhere in the world. It has specialized in health and beauty brands so far featuring celebrity stylist Tara Swennen (Matthew McConaghey, Alison Janney) and Glamhive Founder and CEO Stephanie Sprangers. Its first digital event, the Glamhive LIVE Style Summit, was an “overwhelming success,” followed by another all-day event called the Glamhive Digital Summer Bazaar, a digital conference with three tracks, 32 panels, more than 100 different speakers and “Master Classes”. “Glamhive’s vision is to make personal styling available to everyone, everywhere and our digital events are a wonderful extension of that. For the very first time, people who are fashion and beauty enthusiasts or work in the industry can learn from the best in the business,” said Sprangers.

Photo: Jack & Jones SS21 collection livestream

Popshop Live