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Livestreaming bringing online sales to life

By Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-06 10:09

A farmer sells ducks through livestreaming at a farm in Gaoyou, Jiangsu province, on April 29. [Photo by Meng Delong/For China Daily]

With livestreaming e-commerce boosted to a new level, the variety of goods sold on e-commerce platforms has expanded from cosmetics to food, home appliances, tech gadgets and even trucks and homes.

Market consultancy iiMedia Research said the market size of livestreaming e-commerce is likely to exceed 961 billion yuan ($136 billion) this year, increasing more than 121 percent year-on-year.

In Luo Yonghao's debut livestreaming event, more than 48 million people watched the show and over 910,000 sets of products-including tech gadgets, foods and snacks-were sold.

Though the exact revenue has not been announced, a source who did not wish to be named indicated that Luo's revenue from Yinlang-a virtual currency on Douyin, which the short video platform offers bloggers based on the number of viewers-hit 3.6 million yuan. This is apart from the advertising fees paid by Douyin and the 22 brands Luo was associated with, said the source.

By April 22, Luo had held three livestreaming shows. He disclosed in his social media account that total sales revenue hit about 200 million yuan.

For companies who joined the show, it is a win-win business. For example, brands participating in Luo's livestreaming events included tech giant Lenovo Group and Xiaomi Corp, multinational firms like P&G, as well as emerging startups such as projector maker Xgimi.

Among the other products sold through livestreaming were Chinese lobsters from supplier Xinliangji, vouchers from milk tea maker Nayuki as well as a gel pen from Xiaomi Corp.

Nayuki said it sold 100,000 milk tea products and vouchers and achieved sales revenue of 9 million yuan via livestreaming platforms on April 1. For the startup, selling through livestreaming is not its only marketing channel.

"Cross-border efforts will open fresh sales vistas and enable the company to step out of the comfort zone," said Wang Yi, director of public relations at Nayuki.

Male users accounted for 80.5 percent of those watching Luo's livestreaming while female users were Nayuki's main followers, Wang said.

"Like the key opinion leaders in the traditional internet area, online influencers in the livestreaming sector have created a new communication and consumption story in the mobile internet age," said Yang Qiguang, a communications researcher at Renmin University of China.

"Consumers' curiosity and sense of immersion have helped increase the frequency of interactions with celebrities and thus the possibility of buying things that the latter promote," Yang said.

In February, more than 1 million merchants on Taobao, Alibaba's e-commerce platform, started livestreaming events to sell products, up 719 percent on a monthly basis.

"At a time when more people are stuck at home due to the epidemic, several traditional brick-and-mortar stores have turned to livestreaming to sustain sales and make money," Yang added.

However, Peng Hui, a law researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, cautioned that the more livestreaming e-commerce grows in popularity, the more regulatory measures will be needed.

"More effective supervision will help regulate the sector to prevent problems," Peng said.

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