A photo of Kylie Jenner selling lipstick on TikTok.
Live shopping is big in Asia, but not so much elsewhere.
Image: TikTok

TikTok may seem like an unstoppable global entertainment machine, but at least one part of the company's offering isn't quite taking over

In December of last year, TikTok started testing live shopping in the UK with a multi- brand event. The creators of the early TikTok Shop projects have left the project because the shopping livestreams haven't drawn big audiences and haven't sparked many sales. TikTok was planning to launch Shop in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain by now, and was hoping to launch in the US later this year, but now says it's focused on making the product a success in the UK The concept is more mature in Asia where it lives.

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, is a huge fan of live online shopping. Live sales of the Chinese version of TikTok have turned into huge cultural events that bring big business for retailers and platforms alike.

Live e-commerce is a huge business, but it’s not a global one yet

There isn't much evidence that the live e- commerce model will work everywhere. Many platforms have tried to make live shopping work but none have succeeded. Competition is going to be fierce when it comes to being the home for social shopping. Amazon is putting a lot of money into shopping streams.

You shouldn't dismiss TikTok out. A lot of people spend their time and money on the app. TikTok is committed to the idea and is currently testing a TikTok Shop tab in the app in Indonesia. TikTok makes live social shopping work outside of Asia. That is a huge if.