Short-form video and live streaming drive social commerce in APAC and beyond
Global consumption patterns have changed drastically over the past two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused shopping behavior to digitize rapidly. With consumers stuck at home, working remotely, and navigating supply chain issues, it’s not surprising that mobile commerce and social commerce have seen such impressive uptake. Mobile commerce sales reached US$3.56 trillion in 2021 (up 22.3% on 2020), and social commerce was one of the biggest growth areas — with 85% of large companies, 84% of medium companies, and 57% of small companies now selling products on social commerce platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
APAC and South East Asia are key in the social commerce boom
One of the key regions driving the growth of social commerce is APAC. South East Asia (SEA) has also emerged as a major player and is continuing to distinguish itself as an influential leader in cutting-edge consumer technology. With this leading edge of technology and platform proliferation come extremely influential user behavior patterns. Marketers, developers, and advertisers in highly developed consumer economies, from the U.S. to Europe, are looking to APAC and SEA more and more for the next big thing. And, increasingly, that next big thing is social commerce.
Let’s consider the path for technology like QR codes, which are a long-standing fixture in the Asian commerce marketplace. It took the pandemic to present an understandable use-case for Western audiences, where they’ve been widely leveraged for sign-in and tracking.
And with the rise of TikTok, we’re increasingly seeing the same drive for social commerce, video commerce, and live streaming in particular. The growth has been staggering across the entire APAC region. From a market size of around $3 billion in 2017, social commerce sales in China hit $300 billion in 2021. Growth is also kicking off In the U.S., where social commerce sales hit $36 billion in 2021, and are projected to more than double by 2025.
There’s a reason why there’s a lot of innovation happening in APAC and SEA. A report by Google, Temasek Holding, and Bain & Company found that more than 75% of the population in six major SEA countries have access to the internet, and that in 2021, as many as 40 million people across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand came online for the first time.
Live streaming and short-form video driving social commerce
With live streaming for shopping brands a staple of APAC marketing mixes, TikTok has driven a short-form video boom in the West, and every major player now has some iteration of this format: Snapchat Spotlight, YouTube Short, and Instagram Reels to name a few. Up to 57% of users claim to have made a purchase during a live stream.
Looking specifically at the U.S., TikTok is the undisputed leader, but Instagram, YouTube, and standalone platforms including Triller and Dubsmash are finding their place in the market. With users spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the app (TikTok), which recently overtook YouTube for average watch time in the U.S. and UK, there’s ample opportunity to drive engagement, but it’s also extremely competitive.
It’s also an area that’s still finding its feet in the West. In October of 2020, TikTok integrated with Shopify, allowing Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profile and sync products catalogs to create mini-storefronts directly linked to checkout. The platform also ran a shoppable live streaming test with Walmart, an event that brought 10 creators together.
Social commerce is essential for user acquisition
With 84% of people saying they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video, viewers claiming to retain 95% of messaging delivered via short videos, and 93% of brands reporting they’ve acquired new users via video on social media — the power of this format makes it vital to incorporate into a user acquisition (UA) strategy.
As this technology matures throughout APAC and develops in the West, it’s important to put measurable, tested strategies at the centre of your social commerce strategy. With more focus than ever on social commerce set for 2022, make sure you’re protecting your budgets across channels by introducing a comprehensive and clear testing and attribution strategy.
To learn more about social commerce and e-commerce in general you can download Adjust’s E-commerce App Report 2021 here. To learn about Adjust and how we can help you grow in the social commerce vertical, you can request a demo here.