Live shopping, a popular trend in China, has been touted as the next big disruptor in the US retail industry. However, despite significant investments from tech giants and retailers, live shopping has not yet taken off in the US as expected. There are several reasons for this slow adoption, which I will explain below.
Firstly, the success of live shopping in China is deeply rooted in its unique cultural and social context. Chinese consumers are more accustomed to engaging with influencers and celebrities through livestreams, and the integration of e-commerce into these platforms has been seamless. In contrast, US consumers have not yet fully embraced this form of shopping, as their online shopping habits are more focused on convenience and efficiency rather than ‘live’ entertainment and engagement.
Secondly, the efforts of tech giants like Meta (formerly Facebook) and Amazon to promote live shopping have not yielded the desired results. For instance, Meta recently announced that it would shut down its live shopping feature on October 1, 2023, due to shifting consumer preferences towards short-form video content. Similarly, Amazon’s live commerce content has been criticized for its lackluster quality, and many shoppers are unaware of its existence.
Moreover, some experts argue that US retailers should focus on leveraging tried-and-true content formats instead of trying to replicate China’s live shopping model blindly. Despite these challenges, live shopping does offer some advantages, such as higher conversion rates, improved customer engagement, and the blending of physical and online shopping experiences.
Brands like Macy’s and Sephora have experimented with live shopping on their own platforms or through partnerships with social media platforms like TikTok. However, the overall impact of live shopping on the US retail landscape remains limited.
While live shopping has the potential to rattle the US retail industry, it has not yet gained widespread traction among consumers and retailers to clout disruptor status. The unique cultural and social factors that have contributed to its success in China may not be easily replicable in the US market.
Therefore, it remains to be seen whether live shopping will eventually become a significant force in the US retail landscape or remain a niche trend with limited impact.