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Brands turn to livestreaming platforms as COVID-19 remains

Who knows? Livestreaming could be our new way to shop

Photograph: CoWomen via Pexels
With millions restricted to staying at home since late January, there’s been a boost to China's livestreaming industry. Merchants and brands are turning to this medium to try to reach customers in hopes that it’ll save their sales during this crisis.

For video platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou and Bilibili, an unconventional way of livestreaming has sprung up called 'cloud clubbing', in which live streaming sessions are launched by music labels and clubs. Many platforms further rolled out livestream concerts and music festivals, where artists performed from their homes.

Meanwhile, major e-commerce sites such as Alibaba and Pinduoduo are scaling up their efforts to promote online selling of fresh produce with livestreaming as an essential part of their strategy. Farmers, who mostly live in remote and rural areas, can take advantage and use video to directly engage with consumers and introduce their products.

courtesy sohu
Photograph: courtesy Sohu

Other advertisers are also using Taobao Live to promote their products – food caterers are livestreaming their food, bookstores are giving livestreaming sessions, real estate agents are livestreaming events and areas to sell, automobile companies are livestreaming their cars and services and travel agencies are livestreaming sight-seeing tours.

courtesy 衢州影像 via @Weibo
Photograph: courtesy 衢州影像 via @Weibo

Livestream e-commerce has been on the rise in China since 2016, and it seems like it may remain for a while. According to TechNode, Alibaba's Taobao Live generated sales of 20 billion RMB during the Singles Day shopping event held on November 11 last year. Other e-commerce sites, including Xiaohongshu and Pinduoduo, and video apps such as Douyin and Kuaishou are all jumping on the livestreaming bandwagon.

Life is starting to go back to normal, but the livestreaming trend remains. Who knows? This could be a new era in how we shop.

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