TikTok has aired its first UK online shopping livestream, tapping into the growing trend of ‘social commerce’ in the UK.
While the video-sharing platform is famous for its lip syncing videos, dance routines, and short-form comedy sketches, it is now producing live shopping events where consumers can purchase items directly through the app.
“We think it’s a really significant moment. Ecommerce is a big opportunity for TikTok and it’s something we’re investing in significantly,” TikTok UK general manager Rich Waterworth told the BBC.
Consumers are increasingly looking to social media platforms to purchase goods, with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all dipping their toes into the space as of late.
The former releasing its Facebook Shops marketplace in 2020, allowing businesses to create digital storefronts on the platform.
The number of social commerce shoppers in the US grew 25 per cent to 80 million from 2019 to 2020, according to a report from Business Insider.
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That number is expected to grow more than 100 million by 2023.
TikTok broadcasted its first livestream shopping event over Black Friday, however it is now producing and hosting its own two-day event presented by Rylan Clark-Neal, with influencers, music and a quiz.
“People who have a shared interest or a shared love for a creator or a product area, these communities come together and make the experience of finding and enjoying those products more interesting,” Waterworth added.
“So when you bring these two things together, the power of the TikTok community and the brands … it’s really exciting.”
Social media platforms also get a cut from sales that are made through the sites.
TikTok already has more than a billion monthly global users and internal data shows that one in four users either research a product or make a purchase after watching a TikTok video.
Waterworth believes social commerce is set to be a “big prize” for businesses.
The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has been used over seven billion times, by users who post what they’ve bought thanks to product recommendations.