Why TikTok is abandoning its live shopping plans in Europe and the United States

Why TikTok is abandoning its live shopping plans in Europe and the United States

The failure of live shopping on TikTok in the UK

While live shopping is on the rise and contributing to the growth of e-commerce in 2022, TikTok decides to abandon its live sales project that it wanted to deploy in the United States and Central Europe. Indeed, the social network, building on the success of live shopping in China, has been testing this option in the United Kingdom since last year. According to information disclosed by the Financial Times, the “TikTok Shop” which allows for live shopping events has not found its audience and has failed to convince the English clientele of the social network. Meanwhile, live shopping has reportedly allowed Douyin, China’s TikTok counterpart and also owned by ByteDance, to triple its sales and hold massive events.

Additionally, TikTok’s London-based office has reportedly suffered significant internal issues. Indeed, again according to the Financial Times, which carried out a survey on this subject last month, serious management conflicts, particularly concerning working conditions, had led to complaints and the resignations of many employees. In the question: “an aggressive business ethic that goes against the normal working practice in the UK”.

The TikTok social network singled out in the United States

TikTok’s drastic decision also comes days after the social network was singled out by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States. Indeed, in a tweet, Brendan Carr, head of this Commission, unveiled a letter calling on Google and Apple to ban TikTok from their application stores. In this letter, we can read: “TikTok collects quantities of sensitive data, which are, according to new documents, accessible in Beijing. (…) The application collects search history, records keystrokes, biometric data, draft texts, and metadata. Moreover, it collects the texts, images and videos which are saved on the application by the users”. Application stores would thus be called upon to formulate a response by July 8.

It’s hard not to think that this accusation didn’t weigh in on TikTok’s decision. It remains to be seen how ByteDance will defend itself against this case and what additional options it can offer brands to keep them on its platform.

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