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The importance of live streaming in China
Insights | Feb 2020

If you would like to ask what the most popular and trendy way of marketing and sales in China is, 99% of marketing people will tell you: “Live streaming”. So how is the live streaming market in China right now? How do you leverage the live streaming trend from a brand perspective and which platform is best for you? NBH will help you to find the answers.

According to the latest figures, the number of live streaming users reached 40 million in 2019 and it is estimated that the figure will grow to 52.4 million in 2020. This means that the live streaming market is mature enough to become one of the biggest online shopping business channels. It is also estimated that the market size of live streaming eCommerce will reach 900 billion RMB in 2020 versus 433.8 billion RMB in 2019.

Live streaming eCommerce started in 2016 with the pilot launch of Taobao.com. Now it seems to be a very old story which is only just a few years ago. Right now in China, various platforms including PingDuoDuo (eCommerce platform), the Little Red Book (Social Lifestyle sharing platform), Douyin/TikTok (live streaming platform) and also WeChat (Multifunction social communication platform) all join the battle of live streaming eCommerce. It is still too early to say who will be the winner, but different platforms are leveraging on their strengths to win the heart of users and clients.

Taobao

As the earliest live streaming eCommerce platform, Taobao focusses on its user base and rich experience in the market. With its large consumer base on Taobao, it is easier to guide and close the purchase in one platform. On the other hand, due to the eCommerce platform gene, live streaming which focuses a lot on content and interaction is not the strongest part of Taobao which might make it hard to bring brand value from a marketing perspective. Also, how to allocate the traffic to traditional eCommerce shop and live streaming eCommerce gate in one site is also the problem Taobao needs to evaluate and fix.

Douyin

You might not personally be using DouYin, but you must have heard the song that is actually hot on DouYin and dance routine that many youngsters and even celebrities are doing. For sure, DouYin has become one of the key sources of happiness and way of killing time for the young generation.

With its main user profile from ages 20 to29, DouYin successfully owns the heart of the new generation with plenty of interesting and trendy content.

The eCommerce on DouYin relies heavily on IP and content. With good content, IP will attract loyal followers and you need to plan the product with the IP content seamlessly to win the affections of the users. And due to the platform’s focus on providing interesting content, sales activity might also influence the user experience on the platform. How should DouYin and its IP balance this, is a question for which we cannot yet find an answer.

Being the No.1 in eCommerce and live streaming platform standing, other platforms are also trying to get into the live streaming eCommerce market such as WeChat and the Little Red Book which also have huge base of loyal active users. Whether they will become success and how they will open platform resources to support the business, we shall wait and see for this development in 2020.

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