The news: TikTok has scrapped plans to bring its live ecommerce initiative to the US and other European markets after a failed UK pilot, per the Financial Times.
The allure: Platforms like Meta and Pinterest hope to use livestream shopping—and, by extension, social commerce—as insulation from the fluctuations of the digital advertising market and Apple’s privacy changes.
Livestream shopping struggles: Despite the numerous attempts to make livestream shopping as big a phenomenon in the West as it is in Asia, consumers remain wary.
Culture clash: It’s not surprising to see TikTok attempt to cut its losses as higher interest rates and market uncertainty force businesses to focus on their core revenue streams. However, its decision to cut back on social commerce despite being a major driver of trends and purchase intent signals that the market for livestream ecommerce is not yet worth the effort.
The big takeaway: It will be some time before livestream shopping adoption in Western markets reaches the level of penetration seen in Asian countries. At the same time, by putting its livestream shopping plans on ice, TikTok is leaving the door open for other platforms to take the lead.
Go further: For more on TikTok commerce, read our report here.
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