China Double 11 Shopping Spree: Business flock into live-streaming to expand sales channels


It’s another annual Double eleven shopping spree in China – one of China’s most popular online shopping events. As people get busy buying, retailers are exploring new ways – such as live-streaming – to sell. Dai Kaiyi has the story.

Think of how viral TikTok has gone in the West, The buzz around live-streaming e-commerce is only more dramatic in China. Its hype reaches its climax around this time every year. It’s a virtual shopping spree – a Chinese version of Black Friday.

DAI KAIYI Chengdu “It’s not even halfway through November, and many online shoppers are already short of money. Most blame one of China’s biggest online shopping events of the year – the Double Eleven. No one is giving up the chance of getting discounted items online.”

Paying just a fraction of money as down payment, you can lock in discounts on products ranging from cosmetics to smart gadgets. Consumers can view the items through live-streaming. That gives them a better sense of what they are paying for, which is why brands have been quick to get in on the action, adopting this model as an essential part of reaching customers.

LU SHAN Vice President, Raidy Boer Fashion Garment Co., Ltd “I think it’s a fast-growing trend, and I’m fully confident for the future of live-streaming e-commerce, we raked in over 20 million yuan of sales volume per year via live-streaming alone. From my perspective, it’s not a matter of if the businesses will start streaming, it’s just a matter of when.”

Making virtual transactions both easy and entertaining makes live-streaming e-commerce a tempting option for buyers and sellers. But, it’s not without its downside.

LIU SIYAN Assistant to the Chairman of the Board, Sheme “I think one disadvantage of it is we can’t directly showcase how exquisite our crafts and materials are. We imported leather and crystal from overseas, but these delicate elements cannot be felt as online shoppers can’t touch them or try those shoes on themselves.”

Many businesses are dipping their toes in the water for the first time, and there are tons of challenges left for them to figure out such as outselling competitors, expanding market shares or even just gaining a foothold in the arena.

DAI KAIYI Chengdu “It is hard to stand out, indeed. But almost nobody would deny that the turnovers of live-streaming e-commerce are at record levels. With shoppers afraid of missing out on bargains, retailers are not letting slip any chance of selling as much as they can.”

Data shows that by the end of 2020, over 60 percent of internet users in China watch live streams, and almost 40 percent of them participate in online shopping events.

CUI LILI Researcher, E-Commerce Expert, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics “So far, the top-tier streamers in China are still taking a dominant market share in terms of live-streaming e-commerce. That being said, in-house streams are still an important part for businesses to support the sales, because they need ways to attract attention online, and convert it into foot traffic in their brick-and-mortar stores.”

Getting attention during a shopping festival is easier than it is on normal days, but even with this year’s “impressive” pre-sales, analysts say businesses craving an online-to-offline conversion from Double Eleven will still be a challenge. Dai Kaiyi, CGTN, Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

Post time: Nov-12-2021