TikTok Livestreaming Set to Become Top Ecommerce Sales Channel in 2023 as Merchants Bet on Douyin Traffic

In 2023, TikTok is poised to emerge as one of the most important new sales channels for ecommerce companies in China seeking to tap into its enormous and growing user base. TikTok, known domestically as Douyin, has exploded in popularity over the past few years and now boasts over 600 million daily active users in China. The platform’s signature short videos and livestreaming make it ideal for social commerce. As such, major Chinese ecommerce firms have been aggressively exploring Douyin livestreaming and marketing to drive sales growth.

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According to market research firm iiMedia, the market size of China’s livestream ecommerce industry exceeded $150 billion in 2022, more than doubling from 2021. Douyin currently leads the market with over 60% share. The platform’s highest-earning livestreamer Viya made over $1.5 billion in sales in 2021. Top livestreamers like Viya and Li Jiaqi can sell over $50 million worth of products in a single 6-8 hour session through limited time promotions and discounts.

Given this explosive growth, ecommerce companies view partnering with Douyin livestreamers as essential for acquiring new customers and driving sales. According to Sina Finance, the number of accounts opened on Taobao livestreaming channels surged 250% in 2022, with most growth coming from Douyin users. To formalize these partnerships, Alibaba recently announced it will be integrating Douyin livestreaming directly into Taobao. JD.com is also heavily promoting collaborations between its merchants and top Douyin hosts.

But to succeed on Douyin, ecommerce firms need to tailor branding, marketing and sales approaches to suit its unique demographics and user behavior patterns. Over 75% of Douyin users are under 30. They expect authenticity, value and engagement from hosts. Merchants must select hosts carefully and provide discounted exclusive products to help hosts convert Douyin’s entertainment-focused users into engaged customers.

In 2023, the marketing race to capture Douyin’s enormous commercial potential will intensify further. Companies able to optimize livestreaming sales and branding for Douyin’s dynamic ecosystem stand to reap great rewards as TikTok becomes one of China’s indispensable ecommerce platforms. But those who fail to adapt their strategies risk missing out on this vital new online marketplace.