TikTok is dropping plans to expand its livestream shopping venture TikTok Shop in the U.S. and Europe after the venture failed to find an audience and gain a foothold in the U.K.
TikTok Shop was introduced by parent company ByteDance in the U.K. last year, its first market outside Asia, where the eCommerce livestream is currently offered in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia on Chinese sister app Douyin.
With the introduction of livestream shopping, Douyin has more than tripled sales year on year, selling more than 10 billion products, Financial Times reported on Tuesday (July 5).
In the U.K., however, the livestream shopping project failed to gain momentum, and influencers — the stars and drivers of the program — started dropping out last month, three unnamed sources with insider information told FT.
Influencers pointed to substandard products, long hours, and low pay as central reasons for jumping ship, PYMNTS reported in June. Other problems had to do with supply chain and delivery problems that left influencers pummeled with comments from unhappy buyers.
“The market just isn’t there yet,” a TikTok employee said, per FT. “General consumer awareness and adoption are still low and nascent.”
TikTok’s eCommerce staff in London took a hit when numerous people quit over what they considered a hostile work environment encouraged by the company’s Chinese ownership and management team.
TikTok has been under fire in the U.S. over privacy concerns after a Republican lawmaker wrote to Apple and Google CEOs asking that the app be removed from Apple and Android stores. The chief concern was over the storage of Americans’ TikTok data, PYMNTS reported on Friday (July 1).
CEO Shou Zi Chew wrote to nine Republican senators explaining that TikTok would operate its app from servers controlled by U.S. cloud computing giant Oracle, with a third party auditing the machines. In addition, user information would be stored with Oracle, not on TikTok’s servers.