(Image credit: TechNode)

Taobao Live, the live-streaming unit of e-commerce giant Alibaba, recorded sales of RMB 20 billion ($2.85 billion) during the Singles Day shopping event held on Nov. 11, accounting for around 7.5% of the group’s overall RMB 268.4 billion in sales.

Why it matters: The spike in sales from livestream e-commerce during China’s biggest online shopping festival highlights the rise of content-driven e-commerce in the country.

  • Alibaba’s Taobao generated more than RMB 100 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) through livestreaming sessions throughout 2018, an increase of nearly 400% year on year.
  • However, problems that dog mainstream e-commerce such as false advertising also shadow e-commerce livestreams. Chinese regulators have stepped in to regulate the flourishing sector.

Content emerges as new driver of Chinese e-commerce

Details: Alibaba data shows that GMV from Taobao Live exceeded last year’s total sales from live feeds about an hour after the shopping festival kicked off at midnight.

  • The number of sellers on new sales channel have doubled from last year’s number, signaling growing interest. The number of livestreaming sessions during the event also doubled from last year, the company said.
  • More than 10 livestreamers sold RMB 1 billion-worth of goods on Nov. 11, according to the company.
  • In addition to Alibaba, e-commerce platforms like Vip.com and short video apps such as ByteDance’s Douyin and Kuaishou are also leveraging live-streaming to power their e-commerce businesses.
  • More than 17,000 brands started livestreaming during the festival, from popular products including fashion apparel, cosmetics, consumer electronics, to new categories including cars.
  • For example, Taobao’s top livestreamer, Viya, livestreamed for eight hours engaging a total of 43.15 million buyers. The “Lipstick King” Li Jiaqi livestreamed for more than 6 hours, drawing 36.83 million users. In another livestreaming session that offered discount on cars, 55 cars were sold in just 1 second.
  • From celebrities to top brand executives to farmers, livestreamers themselves are becoming more diverse.

Context: While most livestreaming platforms in the West are focused on gaming and entertainment, livestreaming is becoming a go-to option for Chinese consumers seeking new products and discounts.

  • Taobao is home to more than 4,000 livestream hosts who generate 150,000 hours of content offering upwards of 600,000 products on a daily basis.

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.