Over 45% of China’s digital shoppers will buy via livestream in 2023

The news: More than 320 million people in China will make at least one purchase from a livestream this year, according to our latest forecast.

  • That’s about 186 million more people than in 2019, and nearly 39% of digital buyers ages 14 and older in 2021.
  • We anticipate a 30.2% increase in the number of livestreaming ecommerce buyers this year, and a 13.5% increase next year.
  • By the end of 2023, over 45% of digital shoppers ages 14 and over will shop via livestream.

More on this: Fundamentally, China’s global lead in ecommerce sales is a result of its enormous base of internet users.

  • Although India is nearly as large as China in terms of overall population, no country comes close to rivaling China in digital population.
  • China’s 983.7 million internet users, and 824.5 million digital buyers, will drive its world-dominating ecommerce figures in 2021.

The challenge: China’s digital buyer growth is slowing dramatically.

  • This year, nearly a billion people will be online, and 90.2% of them ages 14 and older will participate in ecommerce. That means it will be harder for marketers to find new digital buyers in the coming years.
  • The key, now, is to focus on where the existing buyers already are.

The big picture: Although China has kept the virus largely under control since mid-2020, various pandemic-related constraints served to influence consumer behavior in lasting ways.

  • Social distancing mandates and nervousness about brick-and-mortar shopping created the ideal conditions for shoppers to embrace new options like livestreaming.

Last year, shoppers seeking to replicate the in-store experience—including interactions with salespeople and realistic looks at the product—found what they needed in livestreaming channels, and this year, they’re sticking with that mode of buying.