Available 24 hours a day, Mintel's global public relations team is pleased to provide accredited journalists with access to our research, arrange interviews with our expert analysts and share the latest insights across categories and countries.

Live-streaming has accelerated the transformation of China’s e-commerce industry, which has flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic. Latest research from Mintel, the experts in what consumers want and why, reveals that only 26% of urban Chinese consumers have not seen livestream shopping in the second half of last year, which demonstrates the popularity of live-streaming goods in China.

Considering the categories where live shopping purchases occur, beauty/beauty and personal care (31%) and apparel and accessories (27%) are the two most popular for live shopping, followed by food and beverages (16%). Meanwhile, Taobao, the most popular Chinese online shopping platform, dominates live-streaming platforms with 65% penetration, followed by TikTok (30%), Kuaishou (23%) and Pinduoduo (23%).

Mintel Digital, Finance and Media analyst, Blair Zhang said: “Urban Chinese consumers are stepping into this online shopping boom with expectations of intuitive and efficient interactive experiences and low prices. Most of the products on the live-streaming platforms are either FMCG products that need to be purchased repeatedly or durable goods that are viewed as enhancing consumers’ quality of life. In addition to a low-price strategy, the success of live streaming lies in the interaction between anchor and consumer.”

There is potential for high-priced products in live streaming

According to Mintel data, 69% of urban Chinese consumers who have watched livestream shopping in the past six months have made a purchase. Specifically, 14% have spent 1,000 yuan or less, 22% between 1,000 and 3,000 yuan, 18% between 3,000 and 7,000 yuan, and 16%  have spent 7,000 yuan or more.

Blair continued: “Live-streaming takes advantage of the mass consumer’s enthusiasm for sales and discounts and has become a major marketing channel. You can see the positive stimulation of live streaming on online consumption, indicating a strong willingness from consumers to shop through live streaming. The strong spending power also reveals potential business opportunities in live shopping for expensive consumer goods such as large appliances and luxury goods. While low-priced goods have low trial-and-error costs for consumers, this does not mean that high-priced products have no chance to succeed in the channel.”

Unlocking potential by enhancing the shopping experience

After-sales service quality (48%) is the fourth most important purchase influencing factor, so improving after-sales service will benefit brands and platforms, according to Mintel data. About one-third (28%) of respondents are concerned about poor after-sales service for live shopping, and the same number  believe it is difficult to guarantee that products in live shopping are authentic (28%).

Mintel Trend, “Experience is all”,  discusses that retailers’ excessive pursuit of speed, convenience and price has made consumers crave the shopping experience offered by physical stores.

Blair Zhang concluded: “Live streaming has really solved some of the pain points of the virtual consumption model. For example, live products look more real, consumers can interact with the anchor in real time, and consumers are more likely to make impulse purchases. However, the top priority is always to create a good shopping experience, including product quality and after-sales service. In fact, we fully expect the industry to experience growth, but if consumer concerns about the shopping experience are not properly addressed, the future of the industry will be in doubt.”