2020 1st Half Year Live Streaming Consumer Insights Report

In the first half year of 2020, with people staying at home during COVID-19 and the development of mobile devices, the popularity of live streaming has been increasing, among which the e-commerce live streaming is the best-known and becomes a universal way to purchase goods, ranging from beauty products, foods & drinks to electronic appliances. The sales value of live streaming broke new records continuously within a short period of time, bringing us brand new consumption experiences. In this article, we will summarize the performance of live streaming industry from consumers’ perspective during 2020Q1&Q2 and the current situation based on the industry reports and analyses.
Live Streaming Types

1. Audience’ Portraits

1.1 User Profile

By characteristics

The live streaming audience can be categorized into 5 major types, category lover, KOL follower, price carer, brand fans, platform follower. The category lovers and KOL followers are the main bodies of users which take up 57%.

The younger the viewers are, the higher probability that they are KOL followers could be. Other generations focus more on the platforms and corresponding brands. The core Internet users (80s-95s) are more interested in the product categories in live streaming. The 18-year-old quasi-adults do not have a high preference for categories, but they will watch e-commerce live streaming because of KOLs. 85s-95s are less sensitive to the price in live streaming than those who are over 35 years old.
Live Streaming User Profile
China Live Streaming Consumer Age Groups

By age

According to China Consumers Association, 80s & 90s are the main groups in live streaming consumers which amount to 83% of the total live streaming consumers.

China Live Streaming Consumer by Age Groups

By city tiers

The statistics also reveal the distribution of the users’ city tiers. The majorities living in the first and second tier cities, contributing to 74% of the population.

China Live Streaming Consumer by City Tiers
Overall, the target audiences are mainly young and middle-aged who are eager for branded products at a lower price. Generally, lowest price is the key to attracting customers while quality and practicability are thought as core factors for sellers to lead the new fashion.
1.2 Audience Watching Habits
China Live Streaming Consumer Watching Habits
According to the report, audiences watch e-commerce live streaming 4.3 times a week in average;

Audiences mostly watch e-commerce live streaming after dinner until sleep (7pm – 12pm) or at home of weekends

2. Watching and Consuming Behaviors

2.1 Incentive to watch live streaming and consume products

It’s necessary for sellers to know about the characteristics of their target audiences to set up more concrete and specialized advertisement as well as the promotion mechanisms.

As estimated, most live streaming viewers are attracted by the coupons sent in live streaming and this is a convenient and efficient way to know more details about the products.
Reasons of purchase in live streaming
The desirable cost-effectiveness and demand for certain products are also fundamental stimuli to consumption behaviors. Apart from the internal properties of goods, the charm of KOLs is also an important trigger for consumers to order goods. Consequently, most manufacturers will set the lowest price ever in live streaming. The hosts and KOLs will design their words and expressions, creating a warm atmosphere to motivate viewers to purchase the product.
2.2 Consumption Behaviors in Different Platforms

In the previous article “how to choose the right live streaming platform”, we have compared and introduced the similarities and differences Taobao Live, TikTok and Kuai Shou, the best-known live streaming platforms at present.

Viewing from a broader view, audiences are attracted by more platforms, which have started to build their own live streaming systems and a competitive market is gradually formed. The current live streaming platforms can be divided into five tiers, among which Taobao Live takes a dominant position. Taobao Live Streaming become the prioritized e-commerce platform for consumers to watch live streaming and purchase products. 77% of audiences know about the Taobao Live; 68% and 61% of audiences have watched and purchased in Taobao Live respectively. According to the data shown, the consumption proportion is much higher than other platforms, including short-videos and e-commerce platforms.

China Live Stream Platforms Performance

In terms of conversion rate,  e-commerce platforms live streaming perform better than other types of live streaming. Short videos platforms are catching up, among which TikTok becomes the most promising platform to sell products.

Conversion Rate of Live Streaming in China
Furthermore, platforms differentiate from each other with apparent features.
China Live Streaming Platform Features

3. Consumption Preferences

3.1 Preferred Types of Anchors

As mentioned previously, anchors play a very important role in recommending and selling products, which determines the sales volume to a certain extent. A new trend in 2020, compared to the situation in the previous years, is that everybody begins to join the live streaming industry. Although the head KOLs, like Austin Li and Viya, are still the most popular choices in the market, nowadays the stars or celebrities promoting goods and CCTV public welfare live streaming are more and more seen. Brands have more choices, and they can even enter the studio by themselves. With their own familiarity and understanding of products, they could provide authentic consumption experiences to audiences and enhance the professionalism and credibility of the brand.

Types of Live Streaming in China

If you are interested in more detailed information about the differences of platforms and corresponding KOLs, you can check our earlier blog “how to choose the right live streaming KOLs” and “how to choose the right live streaming platform” to learn more or contact us directly to choose the most suitable KOL for your brand.

3.2 Preferred Products

Apart from anchors, products also play a nonnegligible role in live streaming.

3.2.1 The Most Popular Products

Food, clothing, beauty & skincare are the Top 3 categories, which take up the majority of the market share and show the highest conversion rate.
Popular categories in Live Streaming

3.2.2 The Most Promising Products

Home appliances, digital products and household products are the three of most promising categories. According to the report, users have high expectation to purchase such goods in the future.
Products in Live Streaming

4. Challenges vs. Trends

4.1 Challenges and Relevant Policies
Problems also arise with the rapid development of most live streaming platforms. It is likely for consumers to face the similar problems of low-quality products and the unsatisfying post-consumption services.
Challenges of Live Streaming in China
4.2 New Trends in Live Streaming
  • Diversification: With the increase of live streaming penetration, a single type of live content can no longer meet the needs of users in different scenarios, and the contents will tend to be diversified
  • Verticalization: After decades of development, entertainment live streaming has reached the bottleneck of flow growth. And there are homogenization phenomenon and user aesthetic fatigue. Vertical industry is still potentially increasing, such as live education, live medical care and so on.
  • Refinement: With the intensification of industry competition, fine operation will become one of the core competitiveness of live streaming. In addition to the product supply chain docking ability behind live streaming, live content planning, anchors’ abilities and executions all affect the success of live streaming.
In general, live streaming, as the popular way of entertaining and consuming in 2020, is burgeoning and growing. It’s advisable that sellers choose the suitable KOLs, platforms to promote their sales and meet the consumers’ minds and needs. Moreover, there still exists much possibility in the industry for us to explore.
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