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eCommerce livestreaming to generate $25B in sales in the US by 2023: What publishers need to know

“This is where shopping is going,” says Nancy Berger, SVP/Publishing Director and CRO, Hearst Media, as Cosmopolitan gears up to host its second, bi-annual shopping event, “Hauliday by Cosmo x Klarna,” on March 1 and 2, 2021. It will feature sales across fashion, apparel, footwear, and beauty from brands such as Macy’s, HAUS LABORATORIES, Rebecca Minkoff, Saks OFF 5th, Express, and more.

The publisher will be introducing a livestream shopping component to the event with ShopShops. The idea is being looked at as the next big step in the evolution of eCommerce. It has already become massive in China and is set to hit $125B this year.  

eCommerce livestreaming is forecasted to generate $25B in sales in the US by 2023, according to Coresight Research. 

eCommerce revenues projected to grow to $6.54T in 2022

“Livestream shopping, or just ‘live shopping’, is a hybrid between traditional home shopping TV, live video streaming content marketing, and influencer marketing all rolled up into a clever term “entertainmerce,” explains Mario Grunitz, Co-founder, WeAreBrain, a  technology agency. 

“It can come in a variety of forms, including fashion shows where consumers can purchase items on the runway in real-time. But perhaps the most popular version of live shopping is live streams of celebrities and influencers reviewing their favourite products and selling them to their followers.”

A major attraction to live shopping is that viewers are able to interact with brands and influencers in real-time. It has become the perfect bridge between online browsing and in-store shopping, where customers can ask questions and receive immediate responses from the comfort of their homes.

Mario Grunitz, Co-founder, WeAreBrain

And since publishers are also influencers, and many like Hearst and BuzzFeed, are already deeply invested in eCommerce, it makes sense for them to experiment with livestream shopping. Moreover, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of online shopping even among older age-groups who were traditionally averse to it, opening up further opportunities.

eCommerce revenues are projected to grow to $6.54T in 2022, almost double from 2019. 

Source: Statista

“As eCommerce has boomed during the pandemic, publishers have looked to capitalize on the customer bases they already have,” says Erika Wheless, Commerce Reporter, Digiday. “While expanding reach into other categories to diversify revenue streams, thus giving their existing customers more ways to engage and spend with them.”

Cosmo readers spent $9.9B on online purchases in the last 12 months

Cosmopolitan’s strategy for growing its audience of millennial and Gen-Z women is by growing its eCommerce business, the magazine’s Editor-in-chief Jessica Pels tells Digiday. It reaches 72M readers a month. They spent $9.9B on online purchases in the last 12 months accounting for 21% of all online spending by women in the US, according to ComScore.

Berger says that manufactured shopping holidays like Amazon Prime Day and Singles Day in Asia sparked the idea of creating their own sales event leading to the creation of Hauliday.     

“Gen-Z and millennials have enormous spending power and everyone is competing for their dollars,” Berger tells WNiP over email. “We saw an opportunity to create a special event just for the Gen Z/Millennial audience that could harness that shopping power and create a bridge for retailers to connect with them. So, Hauliday was born.”

Amazon “manufactured a day to increase commerce with Prime Day. There’s no reason that a collection of eCommerce companies can’t do something similar and make it a worldwide thing in a couple of years…that consumers anticipate and get excited about every summer.”

Karl House, COO, StackCommerce

Pels adds that the college-age demographic is a big market for advertisers who want to connect to consumers off-campus. And a shopping event like Hauliday provides a strong opportunity for retailers and brands to close the gap with that audience in a targeted marketplace.

“Sales on our site were up 251% YoY”

The first edition of Hauliday held in August of last year yielded “incredible” results, says Berger. “Sales on our site were up 251% year over year for the month of August when the event last took place.”

The livestream shopping element will help the publisher deliver an interactive and fun shopping experience to its “audience of digitally-savvy consumers whose purchasing habits continue to evolve,” she adds. They can access the event by visiting klarna.com/us/hauliday and Cosmopolitan.com/hauliday-2021, and joining the livestream shopping experience at Macy’s Herald Square via the ShopShops app on 3/1 and 3/2 at 11AM EST and 7PM EST. 

Source: ShopShops

The livestream will be hosted by Jackie Miranne, TV host, style expert, blogger, and model. She will showcase 60 products carried by Macy’s while engaging with shoppers in real time to answer questions, provide demonstrations and respond to comments.     

“The possibilities are dazzling”

“Live social broadcasts enable audiences to interact with each other in real-time using social comments,” explains Scott Lunn, Head of Content at Grabyo, a Live video production platform. “However, the live broadcasts that stand out are those that allow audiences to dictate what they see on screen. Publishers are able to use live polls, social comment displays or simply answer questions or respond to comments that viewers submit on the social post.”

The livestream shopping trend is taking off in the US with several tech companies jumping in for their slice of pie. Google, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook have all launched live shopping offerings. Walmart began testing live selling on TikTok in December. And then there are venture capital-backed startups including ShopShops, NTWRK, Popshop Live, and Moda Operandi

Source: Amazon Live

“Live selling in other markets has been successful at increasing how often a purchase is made because there’s more product information than traditional ads,” write Bloomberg’s Olga Kharif and Matthew Townsend. “And it’s often coming from a host consumers already know and trust.” 

The multi-sensory engagement that video provides is better than anything that the printed word or static images alone can provide. Research by Analytic Partners shows that an online video impression is worth three times more than a digital display impression in terms of return on investment.  

Kiri Masters, Forbes Contributor and Founder of Bobsled Marketing, a digital agency

“I think traditional eCommerce is going to plateau without adding this dimension,” says David Sandstrom, CMO, Klarna. “It’s the new version of going to the mall together.”

“This whirlwind of activity around livestream shopping reflects several megatrends,” comments Mike George, President and CEO of Qurate Retail, Inc. “Digital media consumption is exploding, as new technologies make it easier than ever to create and share video-based experiences.”

“As livestream shopping expands, it will continue to evolve, and the possibilities are dazzling,” he adds. “Perhaps artificial intelligence on social media will enable us to provide each customer with a fully individualized channel of live, interactive content, curated just for them. Maybe virtual reality will allow us to transport the customer to a front-row seat at a livestream fashion show, right next to a friendly host who is ready to answer questions and take an order.”

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