Has Livestream Selling Peaked in China?

    The total turnover and gross merchandise value of the top Chinese livestreamers plunged in July. What’s it mean for the future of livestream selling?
    Livestream hosts who can earn consumers’ confidence and drive engagement, like Li Jiaqi, can negotiate the best deals with brands to pump up viewership and sales of livestream. Photo: Courtesy of Li Jiaqi.
      Published   in Technology

    What happened

    : The Top 50 Livestreaming Sales Ranking List, which was just released by Pangqiu Data and other e-commerce service platforms, shows that the total turnover of top livestreamers plunged by 41 percent from June to July, garnering even lower numbers than in May.

    Viya and Li Jiaqi held their top positions over the month, but middle-tier livestreamers were taken for a bumpy ride. Viya ranked first on the list with $303 million (2.103 billion yuan) gross merchandise value over July, while Li Jiaqi came in second with 700 million yuan less than Viya’s total. On the heels of June’s 618 Mid-year Shopping Festival, the overall livestreaming turnover of top hosts across all platforms saw a downward trend, with the earnings of many falling by double digits.

    The Jing Take

    : While livestreaming has become one of the most powerful growth engines in China’s e-commerce battleground, many market observers and players are paying close attention to the sustainability of this trend over the medium to long-terms.

    In April and May, when China saw steady spending growth after its COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantines ended, more and more celebrities, CEOs, and even virtual idols began jumping at the chance to present branded livestreams alongside top hosts. In June, e-commerce platforms leveraged livestreams to boost sales by handing out various digital vouchers for the mid-year 618 Shopping Festival. The selling frenzy during this period reached new heights, creating a surge of new e-commerce livestreams.

    But after China took control of the pandemic and its citizens went back to their daily work routines, consumers returned to more rational consumption behaviors. Plus, it would’ve been hard for livestreams to maintain the booming pace they won during successive e-commerce sales holidays, both of which brought high-frequency media coverage with them. But luxury brands that are still exploring the possibilities of this marketing tool should note that sales numbers aren’t the only important indicator for livestreams. In fact, engagement numbers usually play a more vital role in evaluating them.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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