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Shoppertainment & Livestreaming Gain Steam in Europe’s E-Commerce

Shoppertainmnent, the practice of combining entertainment and e-commerce pioneered in Asia, is catching the eye of European consumers and could become one of the next big things businesses pivot to on the continent. 

A study by Forrester and AliExpress conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic and released Tuesday found 70% of 14,460 consumers surveyed in the U.K., Spain, France and Poland expressed interest in this new form of online shopping.

Shoppertainment in Asia started with pictures and short videos as product demos. To bolster customer engagement, other interactive elements, such as in-app games, livestreaming and 3D shopping were quickly added to the mix. These technologies and digital innovations are highly effective in creating an immersive and personalized shopping experience for customers. 

For example, brands such as IKEA tapped into Alibaba’s 3D showroom technology last year and created a virtual walkthrough of a full IKEA store experience for its shoppers. Cosmetics brands like YSL and Estée Lauder leveraged livestreaming to promote their bestsellers on Tmall in the lead up to this year’s International Women’s Day sale.

This week’s report focuses on Europe’s recent adoption of shoppertainment – and specifically livestreaming – because consumers consider it a practical solution for common online shopping pain points, such as trust, pricing, a lack of spatial immediacy or first-person view at the product, said Forrester. 

Livestreaming on an e-commerce platform – also known as “live shopping” – creates a literal dialogue between brands and their target consumers, where hosts field and answer questions in real time. In many cases, the high level of interactivity can immediately capture consumer attention and generating sales.

The value of shoppertainment and live shopping crystalized in European markets during Covid-19. With shops closed to foot traffic during lockdowns, 31% of the surveyed consumers said their online purchases increased significantly. Additionally, almost half of these online shoppers reported persistent consumption of shoppertainment content throughout the pandemic – a strong indicator of new behavioral shift towards embracing an interactive, content-centric shopping experience, said the report. 

“With the emerging trend of shoppertainment in European e-commerce, businesses will be able to stay ahead of the game, if the content presented to consumers is relevant, trustworthy, and entertaining,” said Xiaofeng Wang, senior analyst at Forrester. Consumer appetite in China for example, where livestream e-commerce first took off, is growing. Livestreaming is projected to become an RMB100 billion market by 2023, according to a pre-pandemic report Forrester released last year. Forrester said its estimate is conservative, considering the speed of digital acceleration as a result of the pandemic. 

Unlike Chinese and Southeast Asian viewers, who are young Millennials and Gen-Z, the primary drivers of live shopping in Europe are more mature, between the ages of 32 and 43. Additionally, European consumers prefer watching livestreamed videos of under 10 minutes to get key product information and deals. Some of the most-popular categories to shop via livestreaming include electronics, fashion and cosmetics. 

“When exploring the European opportunity, it is important to look into distinctions of each country to cater the right messages for different consumers in different countries,” said Chang. 

Another key finding of the survey is that there’s no single road to success in Europe, that market interests and tendencies are different in each country. 

For example, U.K. consumers emphasize trustworthy and entertaining content that is mobile-friendly, while French consumers prefer content that is succinct and endorsed by influencers. Shoppers in Spain look for the best deal and practical information when they turn to shoppertainment, and consumers in Poland value interactions with hosts and other customers the most.

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