In China, livestream shopping is a huge business:

  • In 2022, the industry was estimated to be worth $500 billion.
  • In just half an hour during China’s 2020 Singles’ Day shopping festival, livestream platform Taobao processed $7.5B in transactions. During the 2021 event, one social media personality (Viya) sold $1 billion in product.
  • There are boot camps where you can train for a career in the field.

According to CNBC data, however, chances are you’ve never watched such a livestream in the United States.

Instagram has announced plans to discontinue its live shopping feature, reducing those chances even further.

The move highlights some of the challenges that livestream shopping has faced in Western markets. Aside from Instagram, Meta discontinued live shopping on Facebook in October, and TikTok’s live shopping tests reportedly yielded mixed results.

While the West has yet to replicate China’s success — with TikTok, Amazon, and YouTube continuing to invest in the space, and live shopping startups like Whatnot raising $485 million — the industry may simply require some time.

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