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Zara and Amazon Lead Livestream Shoppable Content Expansion

Livestream shopping

As consumers around the world look for more engaging purchasing experiences, livestream shopping is expanding internationally.

Zara, for instance, is reportedly expanding its live shopping to the United States, United Kingdom and Europe after seeing a sales increase from its streams in China.

In April, Amazon launched an Amazon Live streaming channel on its Prime Video and Freevee platforms with shoppable content featuring celebrity talent.

“[We’re] making shoppable entertainment more accessible, interactive and engaging than ever before,” Wayne Purboo, vice president of Amazon Shopping Videos, said in a statement at the time.

The month before, Alizila, Chinese multinational retail giant Alibaba’s news hub, announced that AliExpress was adding shoppable livestreams from U.K. influencers to its content slate, looking to grow adoption of this purchasing channel in the country.

Consumers, for their part, want more entertaining shopping experiences, per the “How Connected Devices Enable Multitasking Among Digital-First Consumers” edition of the PYMNTS Intelligence “How We Will Pay” report. The study’s survey of more than 4,600 U.S. consumers found that roughly 1 in 3 shoppers would want embedded shopping functionality to purchase items that appear onscreen while watching their favorite streamed series. Plus, nearly as many consumers want commercials to have QR-code-enabled shoppability.

Yet livestreams may not be shoppers’ favorite version of shoppable entertainment, at least in the U.S. Brands and retailers have seen U.S. consumers’ engagement with livestream shopping to be below expectations relative to, say, shoppers in China, Vincent Yang, co-founder and CEO of video commerce platform Firework, told PYMNTS in an interview last month. Instead, more static, evergreen shopping content is seeing more growth.

“The reusability of livestreams is not very good, whereas with the shoppable videos, there’s no time duration for it,” he said at the time.

While social media influencers have an impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions, the U.S. market has not yet fully embraced the concept of purchasing directly from live videos as part of mainstream culture. Plus, many influencers still focus on pre-recorded content and sponsored posts, which they can drive sales from long after they recorded them, rather than live, interactive sales that are only relevant in the moment.

The PYMNTS Intelligence report “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Monetizing Social Media” found that 43% of consumers browse social media to find goods and services, and that share jumps to 64% for millennials and 68% for Generation Z.

Meanwhile, more traditional forms of shoppable content are struggling. Qurate Retail, parent company of QVC and HSN, shared in its earnings report last month that revenues dipped 4% year over year in the first quarter.

Still, overall, consumers are engaging more actively with traditionally passive activities like watching movies, opening opportunities for shopping. In a conversation with PYMNTS this week, Evan Bregman, general manager of streaming at the food and lifestyle media company Tastemade, discussed this trend.

“In general, I’m of the belief that there’s really no such thing as a lean-back experience anymore,” Bregman said. “Even when you are sitting and watching the largest screen, you’re interacting with your second screen.”

The same How We Will Pay study found that among the 76% of consumers who use smart devices to multitask while engaged in leisure activities, roughly one-third do so to shop.

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