Is Streaming Commerce the Next Big Thing for Retailers?

The past few years for traditional retailers have been challenging, to say the least, with the “retail apocalypse” constantly looming over their heads and routinely spiking as a hot search term at roughly the same time Q1 earnings are announced.

In 2019 alone, retailers announced closures of more than 9,300 stores, breaking the record of 8,000 store closures, which was set only two-years prior. Now, with COVID-19 putting even more pressure on retailers, many are looking for ways to mitigate the damage done to their bottom line by the pandemic.

Through our market research for the Top 10 Reopening Trends in Retail, one of the tactics we uncovered was live-streaming retail, which interestingly, was limited to Southeast Asia, primarily China. This approach to selling combined Home Shopping Network and QVC’s signature style with streaming video and social elements, and in 2019, accounted for more than $64 billion in transactions.

Recent articles from Forbes and CNBC point to live-streaming retail as one of the channels that are helping to revive China’s economy during the pandemic, but will US and Europe-based retailers and eCommerce platforms follow-suit?

COVID-19 Places a Spotlight on Streaming Commerce

trend analysis using the Quid product of news coverage over the last 4 years shows that there has been a significant jump in articles about streaming commerce, with articles from 2020 accounting for nearly half of the total.

A screenshot of a computer Description automatically generated

In the Quid product bar chart above, we can also see that articles about “Live Streaming Sales” as well as those referring to the impact of COVID-19 were the biggest reasons for the spike in coverage. A look at the a network in the Quid product also shows how closely related these two topics were.

And just like our findings in the Top 10 Reopening Trends in Retail report, we can see that most of the coverage came from Asian publications, but it’s also interesting to note that in coverage of “New Platforms,” we do see a larger percentage of publications based in the Americas covering this topic. 

A closer look at the most prominently mentioned companies in these articles about new technologies shows Facebook at the top of the heap, and by a significant margin if you include Instagram.