Live-streaming sales - a newly emerging e-commerce weapon that has proven disruptive.
Whilst offline retail may still face some challenges ahead, one key driving force behind the rapid return to consumer spending has been live-streaming sales.
This new world created opportunities for many individuals and businesses. Back in April when all we heard about was the daily rise in cases in New York, China had very different headlines. Yonghao Luo, who made his name as a celebrity English educator and later with smartphones, used his rather charismatic and eccentric personality and joined the world of live-streaming sales.
Rather than just creating one or two short promotional videos, Luo spent 3 hours live-streaming from a home studio. It was his first ever live-streaming gig, and the purpose was to sell 23 products, including a smartphone made by Xiaomi, a smart lock by Philips, and some catfish snacks. The result was what Chinese social media joked as “passable” performance for a first-time live-streamer — and regardless of how new he was to live-streaming sales, a total of 48 MILLION people watched the show, and within 3 hours, he sold a 110 million RMB worth of products (~16 million USD or ~13 million GBP).
This sounds impressive right, $16million in sales, but what might surprise you is Luo wouldn’t have even made the top 5 list of the most revenue generating live-streaming sales shows in 2019. Wei Ya, a wholesale-vendor-turned-live-streaming-host set the record at a whopping 267 million RMB worth of sales in one sitting last year ($40 million USD). Li Jiaqi and Li Ziqi, two Chinese live-streaming A-listers regularly deliver 150 million RMB sales live-streaming shows.
Live-streaming sales is in fact not a brand new thing per se. You can probably liken it to the old-time live infomercial, except it happens on social media with an unlimited time slot. But it’d be inadequate to look at it without considering the entertainment part of it, which makes Chinese social media live-streaming so unique.
You might be wondering how this differs from QVC. The hosts for live streaming sales platforms are not just featuring brands and products (who can pay hundreds of thousands to just be featured by a livestreamer) they are providing entertainment. The fans (consumers) also get to interact and engage with them, asking questions and commenting during the broadcast. Purchasing is made super easy as well, with just a few taps you can purchase the products being featured by the livestreamers, to quote Arianna Grande, you see it, you want it, you got it, it’s that simple.
Live-streaming sales have become one of the highlight industries that have flourished in China, and opened up new marketing and sales channels to brands, especially amid the coronavirus outbreak.
One notable live-streaming sales event this year was staged by the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie, or SIHH, one of the two most prestigious luxury watch and jewelry exhibitions in the world. Forced to cancel the exhibition due to the pandemic, they turned to Net-A-Porter’s T-mall channel to launch a joint live-streaming sales event at the end of April. Many of the top luxury watch brands, Cartier, Piaget, IWC, etc. were all featured in the live-streaming sessions. According to T-mall, a 350,000 RMB (~38,000 GBP or ~ 51,000 USD) Roger Dubuis limited edition watch was sold within the first minute of its display.
LV (Louis Vutton) launched its first live-streaming sales event on the lifestyle platform, RED. Within an hour of going live, LV’s RED account attracted over 10,000 new followers. Gucci chose Weibo to be their main platform for live-streaming sales. The 12-hour marathon live-streaming sale saw Gucci break multiple records of branded live-streaming sales, with over 15 million views. Chloe, Dior, Tiffany and many more brands are now adopting live-streaming as a main digital solution to drive sales as offline retail still struggles.
Digital, PingPong. “China's New Live-Streaming Sales Weapon – Zhibo Daihuo.” SupChina, 6 Nov. 2020, supchina.com/2020/11/05/chinas-new-live-streaming-sales-weapon-zhibo-daihuo/.
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