Livepeer Studio
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Live streaming and e-commerce, an untapped opportunity outside of China

Livepeer Studio Team
Livepeer Studio Team
3 min read

There is a large opportunity to disrupt more established e-commerce businesses in Europe and North America by being a fast follower of a rising trend in China - retail or e-commerce focused live streaming.

Retail focused live streaming blends entertainment and e-commerce to engage audiences in shopping-focused content, resulting in great conversion metrics and ultimately a significant increase in revenue.  Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace, for example, pulled in around $15.1B USD in revenue from live streaming in 2018. With over 60% of Chinese based internet users expected to be livestreamers before the end of 2020 , a trend that not surprisingly has been accelerated by the global COVID-19 pandemic, revenues for the livestream ecommerce market across China are expected to hit $136B USD overall by the end of 2020.

Though numbers clearly show promise, the lack of traction this trend has seen outside of China is surprising. While there have been a few startups in western markets experimenting with blending live streaming and ecommerce, we have not seen established brands or retailers making serious attempts to replicate this trend outside of China.

At, we see this as a great opportunity for disruptors in the industry to become early adopters of a new blend of entertainment, ecommerce, and live streaming. Underlying market enablers like high engagement in social media, online video, and influencer marketing for success in the West appear similar to those in China. Combined with good home internet and mobile connectivity, as well as ongoing challenges faced by retailers and shoppers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems like an auspicious moment to challenge established practices of e-commerce brands and platforms in Western countries.

E-commerce live streaming would allow retailers to engage with shoppers live, bringing products into the home and allowing shoppers to participate in a new type of shopping experience that would fill the void left by global lockdowns. A traditional website with static images or prerecorded video just doesn’t deliver the same experience as does in-person or live streaming shopping. While Amazon and YouTube have some limited capabilities to help enable e-commerce focused live streaming, we at believe the winners will be players that combine a highly capable ecommerce platform with an excellent live streaming service to deliver a cohesive brand-first experience for their shoppers.

One of the biggest challenges those looking to build a platform in this sector face is the cost of building out and running reliable live streaming video infrastructure. Individuals entering the sector will need to ensure a high-quality live video experience for content creators that will attract viewers excited about this new way of shopping. is thrilled about supporting growth and innovation in the e-commerce and retail live streaming space. We’ve created a video infrastructure service that uniquely addresses the costs associated with standing up and operating this type of infrastructure, whilst delivering a high quality transcoding and streaming service. If you’re looking to quickly build and are interested in learning more about how we can help, drop us a note at [email protected]