Women’s clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, home furnishing, plus food & beverage were the top-ranked categories in livestreaming by gross merchandise value (GMV) generated in 2021, said Alibaba Group’s online marketplace Taobao in a new report.
In China, 460 million people watched livestreams on e-commerce platforms last year, and over 50 billion viewers have watched Taobao’s live sessions since 2016, according to the platform’s 2022 Taobao Livestream Annual New Consumption Trend Report, written in collaboration with research agency iResearch.
The average viewing time for Taobao livestreaming sessions rose by 25.8% year-on-year in 2021, and the number of products sold via those live sessions jumped by 53% year-on-year, the report added.
New York-based womenswear and accessories brand Proenza Schouler broadcast its first livestreaming session on the group’s B2C e-commerce platform Tmall in May. Its founders, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, showed Chinese customers around their store and introduced their spring collection online during the livestream.
Old Dog, New Tricks
The home furnishing category ranked eighth in terms of live sessions on Taobao in 2021, the report said.
One company in the category, German brand Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM), presented its handmade porcelain and factory via livestreaming on cross-border online marketplace Tmall Global in May.
Entering a competitive market, the niche brand preferred to test the water by getting to know its customers via streaming before setting any sales target for China.
“[Livestreaming] could be a great opportunity for our future sales strategy, especially when it comes to the Chinese market,” Jenja Carow, head of KPM’s sales and marketing department, told Alizila in an interview.
Brands from different walks of life are building up their own livestreaming channels and nurturing their livestreaming teams.
Back to School
Brand-led livestreaming was most effective in the jewelry category, while Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) generated most sales in women’s clothing and cosmetics through livestreaming, the report said.
Taobao invited around 20 KOLs and celebrities to join Taobao livestreaming ahead of this year’s 6.18 mid-year shopping festival.
Taobao also offered free marketing and online courses in livestreaming to help business owners better shape their strategies and engage with customers in the run-up to the festival.
“Brand-led livestreaming channels saw rapid growth last year and became a leading contributor to Taobao Live,” said Daofang Chen, head of Taobao Live told merchants in May.
Lucah, a domestic male clothing start-up followed by 90,000 fans on Taobao, repositioned its marketing strategy after tuning in to Taobao’s free online courses earlier this year.
“Taobao is a stable platform for growth in the long run,” Yuan Tao, the founder of Lucah, told Alizila.
The market size of China’s e-commerce livestreaming industry is valued at RMB3.5 trillion ($520 billion) this year — an RMB1.2 trillion ($190 billion) increase year-on-year, according to Taobao.
In 2020, the gross merchandise value of e-commerce live streaming in China accounted for 10.6% of online shopping’s GMV and the proportion is set to reach 24.3% in 2023, according to iResearch.
Domestic coffee brand Yongpu Coffee, whose category of food & beverage ranked fifth in terms of GMV in live sessions last year, said it sees a growth opportunity in building up an exclusive community and nurturing repeat buyers.
“Long-time attachment with our customers contributes to repurchasing and building an exclusively active community,” Yongpu Hou, the founder of Yongpu Coffee told Alizila in an interview.
Additional reporting by Ivy Yu
This article was corrected in paragraph six to correct the spelling of Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur