Founded in 1986, QVC is perhaps the “OG” of livestream shopping. At the time, competition for eyeballs was not nearly the same as it is today, but that certainly does not detract from the innovative approach and continued reach that the company has today.
Amazingly, in spite of the technological advancement of the past 30+ years and the multitude of streaming platforms, apps and other means of consuming content, QVC (with its sister channel HSN) still has a stronghold on the market - with a reach of 380m homes worldwide and ~$14b in revenue last year.
Livestream shopping is a massive market to say the least, and is set to grow four-fold to $25b in the US alone in the next two years, according to Coresight research. However, that is nothing compared to China, where livestreaming e-commerce is expected to generate $423b in transactions this year, up from essentially zero in 2017.
China, which arguably has the world’s largest and most mature creator economy, has always been ahead of the trend in this space. Douyin predated TikTok. Or take online tipping, where Chinese sites embraced this feature long before Instagram and YouTube got on board. Now, however, there are signs that things are slowing down in the country - as the cost to brands of using influencers to push product is starting to outweigh the benefits.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what happens in the US, which is still in the early stages of growth and where consumer attention is still undergoing a shift from traditional media to creators and influencers and the social media platforms they operate on. While no one here can claim to have sold $2b worth of goods in one day or 15,000 lipsticks in 5 minutes (both actually happened IRL), advertising dollars are aplenty ($14b to be exact) and the creator economy is growing rapidly. Bridget Jones mum famously had a pop at it - What do you think you could flog to a live audience?