Ecommerce livestreaming booms in the time of quarantine

The coronavirus pandemic has forced companies to adopt new tactics to reach consumers staying at home, including selling on third-party platforms and boosting livestream marketing.

China’s ecommerce market reached $1.9 trillion in 2019, according to eMarketer. This includes direct-to-consumer sales from companies, but many consumer brands sell more via third-party platforms that have enormous existing user bases. Even luxury brands like Prada, once fearful of the internet, have recently signed deals with Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C online marketplace, to boost sales, as consumers shy from shopping in person amid virus concerns.  Connecting to potential customers through ecommerce platforms like Taobao is no longer enough, however, as consumers expect interactive forms of entertainment during their shopping experience, like livestreaming.

Ecommerce livestreaming is a $62 billion industry in China, and growing fast. In 2020, iMedia Research projects the industry will exceed $128.5 billion, per the People’s Daily, which also notes that on Alibaba’s platform Taobao Live, “the number of livestreaming rooms launched by retailers on the platform increased 719 percent month-on-month in February.”

Is ecommerce livestreaming here to stay? Yes, according to some analysts, who say new consumer habits will outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.

—Caroline Stetson