Will live-stream commerce ever become a thing in Western markets?
It may not matter, because while Western audiences have only shown moderate interest in in-app buying, Asian consumers have been very keen to adopt these new shopping options, with consumers in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore all taking up social shopping options at increasing rates.
And, now, YouTube’s looking to tap into this rising area of opportunity, with the launch of a new official shopping channel in South Korea, which will focus on live commerce specifically.
As reported by Yonhap News:
“The new channel, set to open June 30th, will provide a live commerce platform to companies, and plans to livestream shopping content with about 30 brands at launch, according to the people. This is the first time YouTube is opening an official shopping channel in any country in the world.”
To be clear, YouTube already offers a range of in-stream shopping options for brands, and it has, at different times, run various in-stream shopping promotions, which have included dedicated shopping live streams. But this is the first time that YouTube is launching a dedicated live-stream shopping channel, which will continuously run live shopping content in the app.
Which is another step towards in-stream commerce, and aligning with the opportunities in Asian markets, which YouTube may also be able to build upon with a broader Western shopping push.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed the project, explaining that:
"YouTube is committed to building an engaging, informative and entertaining shopping experience for all users, including in Korea. To do this, we may experiment with a variety of YouTube Shopping features from time to time as we continue to work hard to optimize and deliver the best experience for our users."
Pretty non-committal, but essentially, YouTube has confirmed that it is launching a new shopping push for users in Korea, which could set the foundations for its next commerce efforts.
The main opportunity here is that Asian markets are leading the way on this front, and by aligning with these trends, and tapping into Asian user behaviors, YouTube will be able to build on its shopping experiences, with a view to expand into other markets.
Because logically, eventually, in-app commerce will also catch on in other regions, and by focusing its resources on key growth opportunities now, YouTube will be able to improve its offerings, and meet all consumers, in all markets, with improved shopping experiences over time.
It’s another step towards building more utility into social apps, and to cracking the code on in-stream selling. It’s not a critical consideration for Western brands as yet, but eventually, this will become a bigger deal, which is why it’s worth noting these developments, and how they’re received.