During the past few months, the biggest quarantine in human history caused by the coronavirus pandemic suspended almost all offline sales in China. To cater to the shopping demands from those homebound, many merchants turned to livestream, resulting in the largest online live sales the country ever has seen during the quarantine.
In February, China’s biggest online marketplace Taobao rolled out a welcome mat for 1 million new merchants. The number of vendors adopting livestreaming on Taobao Live, Taobao’s livestreaming, where merchants promote their businesses through live broadcasting, grew explosively by 719% compared to a month ago, as data from the parent company Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) shows.
While many industries in the country stopped hiring or even started laying off employees, the demand for livestreaming talents surged by 132% compared with the same period last year, with an average monthly salary offered at RMB 9,845 (USD 1395), 42.6% higher than the estimated 2020 average pay in the Chinese capital, Beijing.
In 2019, Taobao Livestream’s gross merchandise volume (GMV) exceeded RMB 200 billion (USD 28 billion), which contributed to 3.5% of Alibaba’s total GMV in China during the year, according to the company’s 2019 earnings result.
Local broker Everbright Securities estimated the GMV of China’s livestream e-commerce in 2019 to reach RMB 440 billion (USD 62.3 billion), more than three times higher than in 2018.
Except for categories that are already popular among livestream buyers before the public health crisis, like clothing, cosmetics, and jewelry, many big-ticket products have also taken this unconventional opportunity to boost their sales. In mid-February, over 2 million customers watched real estate livestream sales events on Taobao Live,and 23 global vehicle brands also went on the air to host around 100 online sales events per day.
Among them, the transaction volume of home decoration increased by 15 times in February compared to January 2020, said Taobao in its annual event.