Late night infomercials on channels like QVC or HSN are what are quintessentially known as "live shopping" to many of an older generation. Whip out your credit card and for four easy payments plus shipping and handling, you could have the latest beauty, fashion, or kitchen gadgets shipped to your door in 7-10 days.
Nowadays, livestream shopping is a growing trend globally, generating $60 billion in global sales in 2019 with over $1 billion in US sales alone. This trend is set to continue accelerating globally with projected sales likely to reach $500 Billion by 2023. In China, iResearch expects shoppers to exceed $300B in purchases in 2021. QVC and its sister channel HSN, which reach an estimated 380 million households globally, have been around for 35 years, only 9 years ahead of Amazon.
Since QVC has live shopping in its DNA with around 60% of revenue coming from its online sites, the company could have rested on its laurels. Instead QVC CEO Mike George has been pressing forward and quickly with good reason: Every major online retailer and social media platform wants in on the action now. Amazon, Facebook, TikTok , and Instagram have been developing livestream shopping tools and partnerships to get US consumers onboard. QVC’s latest effort is the launch of its own channel on Youtube TV, which boasts over 3 million subscribers.
With a virtually endless product shelf, Amazon holds a unique position offering livestream since 2017, that only one or two other retailers can only come close to. A fulfillment network with one-day delivery standard for Prime Members, who amount to 112 million in the US and spend 133% more annually than non-Prime members, coupled with a plethora of merchandising and advertising capabilities in-house, result an extremely strong formula for success in the livestreaming ecommerce world. Walmart has doubled down on using TikTok over the last three-to-four months with shoppable livestream events featuring some of TikTok’s largest influences and will continue to bring more of these events in the coming months regardless how its offer to buy the social media video platform goes.
This year, I fully expect more brands to test the waters with their products on Amazon and help fuel the Amazon flywheel for business. Initial investments and learnings can help brands gather valuable insights and can adapt their approach for optimal results. Brands who take a late start or defer testing of livestreaming for ecommerce may find themselves playing catchup and struggling to catch the attention of shoppers already tuned into other brands. In addition, retailers in fashion and beauty that boast large influence bases will also continue to experiment and direct efforts to capture what they can of the growing opportunity.