TikTok drops live shopping expansion plans after UK misses targets

TikTok has dropped its plans to expand live shopping ecommerce initiative TikTok Shop across Europe and the US, after the UK project missed targets and failed to gain traction with consumers.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the social media platform’s live ecommerce initiative was plagued by internal problems and didn’t have the impact expected.

TikTok had planned to launch the ecommerce project in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of the year, expanding into the US market in late 2022. Reports say these expansion plans have been dropped after the UK project failed to meet targets, with influencers pulling out of the scheme.

“The market just isn’t there yet,” a TikTok employee told the FT. “General consumer awareness and adoption are still low and nascent.”

Many TikTok Shop livestreams have achieved poor sales despite the company offering subsidies and cash incentives to encourage brands and influencers to sell through the app.

READ MORE: TikTok Shop: Why #TikTokmademebuyit is
“central to a new kind of shopping culture” 

The QVC-style shopping platform is a form of livestream commerce which allows brands and influencers to sell products as they broadcast live to their followers.

TikTok Shop launched in the UK last year, its first market outside Asia, and was widely hailed as the future of shopping by many, including rival social media platforms Instagram and YouTube.

However, the short-form video sharing platform also recently made headlines following a mass staff exodus from the company’s London ecommerce team, who complained of an aggressive working culture.

The workplace friction saw senior ByteDance executive and head of ecommerce at TikTok Europe Joshua Ma being replaced as the company investigated further.

TikTok said at the time that it had no current plans to roll out shopping features in Europe and was focused solely on making the proposition a success in the UK.

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