How Viya & Austin Li Won Singles’ Day

    The big winners of this year’s Singles’ Day in China were its livestreamers. But can they also help luxury brands?
    The big winners of this year’s Singles’ Day in China were its livestreamers. But can they also help luxury brands? Photo: Li Jiaqi's Weibo
    Adina-Laura AchimAuthor
      Published   in Profile

    What happened

    Alibaba’s Singles' Day has officially been launched, and the big winners are Viya and Li Jiaqi (aka Austin Li), two of China’s most famous livestreamers. During their October 20 livestream session, the power duo sold 3.1 billion (20 billion yuan) in GMV, nearly 10 percent of the entire 2020 Singles’ Day event.

    Bloomberg points towards preliminary data compiled by e-commerce data specialist, which shows that Li Jiaqi pre-sold 1.9 billion (12 Billion yuan) in products ranging from Shiseido creams to Apple AirPods. No other livestreamer has achieved Li’s record-breaking sales during a livestreaming session in Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace, according to data.

    Viya also registered a smashing success, selling about 1.2 billion (8 Billion yuan) in goods during a 14 hours livestream. Meanwhile, another livestreamer named Cherie reached sales of 187 million (1.2 Billion yuan), according to

    Alibaba’s pre-sale shopping extravaganza wasn’t free of technical issues, though. The South China Morning Post reports that Taobao Marketplace crashed for 20 minutes during the event. Technical issues also impacted Qianniu, a platform where merchants can manage their online stores. As per Taobao, the system breakdown happened because of heavy traffic generated by “overenthusiastic” shoppers.

    The Jing Take

    Livestreaming e-commerce started booming in China during the pandemic. In 2021, more than 320 million customers in China will make at least one purchase from a livestream session, according to eMarketer. Furthermore, by 2023, over 45 percent of digital shoppers ages 14 and over will buy their goods through livestream shopping events.

    While the e-commerce phenomenon doesn’t show signs of losing steam in China, not every luxury brand sees value in a livestreaming campaign or an association with a livestreamer. Additionally, not all heritage brands have cracked the code of this aggressive sales-focused model.

    Louis Vuitton’s debut livestream on Xiaohongshu, hosted by Yvonne Ching, failed to impress its audience. And French couture house Christian Dior’s January broadcast was deemed “awkward and boring.”

    Regarding Alibaba’s Singles' Day, merchants should partner with the group’s in-house livestreaming personalities and take advantage of live sessions on Taobao Live because Alibaba’s broadcasters know how to personalize the digital sales experience and accelerate purchases in China's virtual world better than anyone.

    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.

    Discover more
    Daily BriefAnalysis, news, and insights delivered to your inbox.