TikTok drops its live shopping project in Europe and the U.S.
TikTok Shopping was meant to allow the Chinese social media platform to capitalize on the popularity of live shopping in the Western world. The group has now abandoned the project due to a less than positive response after having been tested in the United Kingdom last year.
This news was reported by the Financial Times a few weeks after the media outlet revealed a series of resignations within the London e-commerce team of the company. The Chinese group was accused of inappropriate management within this team. This information had led to the replacement of Joshua Ma, who managed the European activity of TikTok Shop, the division in charge of the development of the live shopping solution.
The launch of TikTok Shopping had been announced by the Chinese group itself in the summer of 2021. After a test phase initially planned for the British, European and Canadian markets, the company had planned to fully extend the service to France, Germany, Italy and Spain in the first half of 2021. The U.S. market was expected to follow suit.
This is a significant setback for what was the leading mobile app during the pandemic. TikTok was indeed the most downloaded app in the world in 2020, followed by Facebook. Last year, it boasted more than three billion downloads and 732 million monthly active users.
The app geared towards short or live videos had then logically entertained the idea of taking advantage of the progressive shift towards live shopping in the Western world. These live videos used to present and sell products have become increasingly popular in Asia, particularly in China.
Live shopping has been available in China since 2013 and has seen unprecedented levels of growth in the country since 2017, at a rate of around 280% per year until 2020, according to a McKinsey report. This market potential, as reported by FashionNetwork.com, has attracted the attention of Western luxury groups, including LVMH, who are showing an increasing interest for this new way of selling products.
The live shopping market in the Western world is still in the sights of many players. Starting with Amazon, via the Amazon Live platform launched in 2019, and on which the group is hoping to attract influencers looking for partnerships. This ambition can count on the support of Twitch, a platform specifically dedicated to "live streaming" and also owned by the group, that has an average of 2.5 million viewers connected worldwide.
Besides Amazon, live shopping has also seduced Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Ebay, which a few days ago launched its live shopping platform.
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