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TikTok Shop Is a Real E-Commerce Threat

Unlike other social media platforms, TikTok, seems bent on making money via e-commerce. Globally it aims to reach $20 billion in gross merchandise value this year, a fourfold increase from 2022, Bloomberg has reported.

Tweet on TikTok ecommerce

Bloomberg Tweet on TikTok

This month, TikTok Shop made its debut in the US—the short video app’s largest market, with about 150 million active users. Consumers can buy products tagged in videos or QVC‑style livestreams. Alternatively, they can enter a marketplace via a shop tab, prominently displayed on the app’s home screen, to search and browse.

There are those who might brush off TikTok’s new endeavor, believing Americans don’t have the habit of shopping through videos. Meta Platforms Inc. pulled the plug on Facebook’s live shopping feature last year.

Indonesia offers a cautionary tale. Launched there in 2021. TikTok Shop is already poised to outsell the nation’s third-largest e-commerce company, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-backed Lazada, which has been around for more than a decade. Users in Indonesia spend an average of an hour a day on the app, just like those in the US.

For now, TikTok doesn’t care about making money via the app in Indonesia, its second-biggest market, after the US, by number of users. Its goal is to prove its platform can help brands and manufacturers convert user attention into sales. That strategy is a big headache for its established rivals.

Image: tiktok