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Brief Published: 12 Mar 2020

Covid-19 Propels Power of Live Commerce

With consumers forcibly kept away from physical retail and having to seek their shopping kicks online, the trend for selling via live streaming - a format rooted in the thrill of interactive digital connections (already booming in China) - is sure to be accelerated by the coronavirus. 

The live-streaming market will reach 43bn yuan this year

Eighty per cent of audiences would now rather watch a live video than read a blog, while Chinese internet research company iResearch estimates its live-streaming market will reach 43bn yuan ($6.14bn) this year.

While it's been doing great business in fashion for some time (see Tencent-owned, influencer-based e-tail site Mogu in Five Key Shifts in Social Media Selling for details), Chinese electronics brand Midea has held a series of live streams with key opinion leaders (KOLs) and doctors to cover topics like healthy cooking at home with advice from doctors on how to prevent infection.

The unsurprising focus on health echoes strategies on digital doctors, telehealth and on-demand debate detailed in Medi-Retail, and is applicable to consumers all over the globe. While there are no testing kits currently widely available, US brands such as Ro and American Well are already offering e-assessments, stemming low-risk patients blocking more serious cases.

For more on Stylus' analysis of the massive 'lure of live' see Reflexive Retail: Live & On-DemandMonki Debuts Live Stream Selling and Singles' Day, 2019: Live & Legacy-Rousing.