Livestream shopping emerges as a major channel to boost consumer spending

(People's Daily Online) 10:50, July 28, 2021

Viya (left), one of China's top e-commerce livestreamers, and her assistants promote products via livestreaming platforms in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. (Photo by Chen Zhongqiu/For China Daily)

In 2016, Xu Fei joined the livestream industry and started to make her mark in the shopping habits of Chinese consumers. Five years later, she had become an experienced online salesperson who sold 20 million yuan worth of goods at a mid-year online shopping spree.

In the first half of this year, China’s consumer market maintained strong recovery momentum, as online retails sales of physical goods increased by 18.7 percent year on year, up 4.4 percentage points.

Livestream e-commerce, as a new model of e-commerce, has injected strong impetus into the consumer market.

According to a report released by the research institute at the China International Electronic Commerce Center under China’s Ministry of Commerce, the number of users on livestreaming platforms in China reached 617 million in 2020, with the number of livestreamers reaching 388 million.

Last year, sales of goods via livestream channels exceeded one trillion yuan, and this year it is expected to approach 2 trillion yuan. During an online shopping festival held by the Ministry of Commerce in April, some 710,000 livestream sessions were held, attracting 4 billion views.

During the online shopping festival, catering services sales surged 51.1 percent and sales of travel packages soared 330 percent from a year ago.

In the second quarter of the year, driven by consumption upgrading, the two-year average growth of the sales of cosmetics, gold and jewelry, and sports and entertainment products was 3.2 percentage points, 1.7 percentage points, and 2.9 percentage points higher respectively than that seen in the first quarter.

In the first half of the year, the consumer market sustained its momentum of recovery and steady growth, while the country’s retail sales of consumer goods went up 23 percent year on year in H1. The contribution of consumption to economic growth reached 61.7 percent.

In H1, China’s retail sales of automobiles reached 2.2 trillion yuan, representing a year-on-year increase of 30.4 percent, and a 13 percent contribution to the country’s total retail sales of consumer goods.

From January to June, China’s box office revenue recovered to nearly 90 percent of that in the same period of 2019, while rail and civil aviation passenger traffic returned to nearly 80 percent.

“With steady economic recovery, effective epidemic control, sound implementation of various policies, and soaring consumer confidence, the consumer market is expected to continue to embrace recovery and prosperity,” said Zhu Xiaoliang, an official with the Ministry of Commerce.

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Liang Jun)


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