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YouTube Bets on Livestream Shopping this Holiday Season

YouTube invites users to a week of livestream shopping during its Holiday Stream and Shop from November 15-22. During the daily live streams, shoppers can interact with creators, provide feedback, and access exclusive products and discounts. When it comes time to purchase, shoppers can browse products and checkout without exiting the video feed. Read below to learn more about YouTube’s inaugural holiday streaming event.

YouTube Curates a Week of Livestream Programming, Partnering with Creators and Brands

YouTube is piloting its Holiday Stream and Shop this holiday season; the company is partnering with creators and brands to host 7 days of shoppable livestream events. Throughout the video streams viewers will have an opportunity for Q&A with creators, and access to both exclusive discounts, and new product launches. This is YouTube’s first large scale rollout of its live shopping capabilities, as it previously had only been pilot-tested with select creators. Select livestreams are subject to international commerce regulations, making sponsored items only available for purchase within the U.S.

Gordon Ramsay’s shoppable live stream cooking show on Nov. 17. Source: YouTube

The event opens with a ‘Wish List LIVE’ stream from the Merrell Twins, Los Angeles-based actresses and content creators. The twins’ holiday livestream is in partnership with Walmart, Samsung, and Verizon has accrued over 1.1M views to date. Other hosts include makeup artist and social influencer Jackie Aina and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay’s livestream on Nov. 17th featured a 45-minute holiday cooking show using HexClad cookware and garnered over 134,000 views on the day of launch. Directly below the video stream, the ‘Gordon Ramsay Store’ displays a carousel of HexClad products embedded directly into YouTube’s interface. The product links redirect customers to the HexClad website where they are immediately shown a 5% off Ramsay-branded pop-up.

Below the video content throughout Gordon Ramsay’s livestream sits a carousel of shoppable products, with external links to the HexClad website. Source: YouTube

The Rise of Live Commerce Events Highlights a Budding Industry in the United States

Unlike its U.S. counterpart, live commerce is ubiquitous in China, with a market size of over $150B USD in 2020. Taobao Live is the dominant platform, capturing 80% of all livestreaming e-commerce transactions. Live commerce is woven into the fabric of Chinese shopping culture, as consumers are accustomed to engaging with a daily schedule of video streams from prominent brands and creators, and the seamless purchase processes that accompany them.

In the United States, YouTube is a prime candidate for livestream shopping, as consumers trust recommendations from its creators. According to a report by Talk Shoppe, 89% of consumers surveyed cited that YouTube creators give recommendations they can trust. YouTube has the opportunity to harness its credibility with consumers and capture significant market share in the U.S.’ growing live commerce market, bringing brands to customers through the lens of trusted creators.

Another facet to YouTube’s advantage in the commerce space is its strength with Gen Z consumers. As this cohort ages into significant purchasing habits, they will already exhibit fluency with YouTube’s interface and capabilities, citing opportunities for natural adjacencies within e-commerce among this digitally native age group.

YouTube’s live streaming capabilities have also shown significant growth in 2020, with over 500,000 channels utilizing the live stream feature for the first time. This event serves as a pilot to unify YouTube’s e-commerce and streaming efforts, as the platform has worked to build out its shopping capabilities over the last year. The Holiday Stream and Shop will function as a powerful social listening exercise for YouTube as consumers continue their holiday shopping throughout mid-November. As YouTube continues to expand its e-commerce offerings, feedback from customers this holiday season will offer invaluable insights as the platform continues to develop and refine its strategy going into the new year.

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Reagan Jacobs

Reagan provides research, planning and analysis support for McMillanDoolittle retail consulting projects. She supports company and client projects through consumer research planning, merchandise and operations analysis, financial modeling and graphic design work.

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