Despite being a relatively nascent concept, livestream shopping is quickly gaining traction. As an immersive e-commerce platform, livestreaming has the potential to deliver a novel and interactive travel booking experience.
Livestream shopping gaining traction
Livestream shopping incorporates an online livestream broadcast with an e-commerce platform, allowing viewers to watch and shop at the same time. The concept first became popular in China, but is quickly gaining traction around the world and in various industries. This includes the travel industry, as more businesses and consumers turn to novel ways of shopping online. This way of engaging with travellers offers destinations and retailers a new channel, with significant potential for creating and delivering value.
Within the travel space, livestreaming provides users with a dynamic and interactive way to engage future travellers, and showcase potential holiday destinations. The enormous scope for creating and delivering value can be seen in China’s travel market. Trip.com Group’s chairperson, James Liang, has become a familiar fixture on the company’s livestream shopping events, selling thousands of hotel rooms in weekly events. Trip.com has leveraged innovative live streaming capabilities for specific markets with its own livestreaming program, BOSS Live Broadcast. Livestreaming on this platform reportedly contributed nearly CNY5 billion ($786.8 million) in trading volumes globally, from March 2020 to the end of 2020.
The pandemic aided livestreaming
Covid-19 has aided the concept of livestream shopping. As people spent more time online, businesses fought to capture the attention of consumers in new ways, and consumers looked to businesses for engagement. During China’s domestic lockdown, Alibaba’s travel platform, Fliggy, allowed Chinese travellers to discover new places around the world by broadcasting live from Serbia, Finland, Germany, and the UK, as well as from cultural European destinations including the Palace of Versailles, the British Museum, and Madrid’s Prado.
Furthermore, according to a GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey*, 21% of respondents would like brands to provide general entertainment. In addition, 25% of respondents consider the ability to engage with a brand directly an essential driver of purchase, which rises to 30% of Gen Z and 32% of millennials. This bodes well for a concept which blends entertainment and instant purchasing, and is generally less transactional and more catered to fostering long-term relationships with customers.
Livestream shopping success lies in attracting the new generation of travellers
However, holidays are typically more expensive than the retail items which populate livestream shopping. As such, the aspect of impulse purchase behaviour may be missing. Nevertheless, it has the potential to generate new leads, opportunities, and customers. Furthermore, what works in livestream shopping’s favour is that it attracts a much younger audience, who are the next generation of holidaymakers and spenders. According to GlobalData’s Q1 2021 Consumer Survey*, 32% of Gen Z respondents want general entertainment from brands, followed by 28% of millennial respondents. This falls to just 11% of boomer respondents, and only 5% of the Silent Generation. Respondents in India (35%), Brazil (32%) and South Africa (31%) show the greatest demand for entertainment from brands. Companies who want to tap into this market would be amiss not to take advantage of this.
*GlobalData Consumer Survey Q1 2021 – 21,768 respondents