Why TikTok Shop is a problem for eBay & Amazon

Category: News
Why TikTok is a problem for eBay & Amazon

TikTok Shop only opened in the UK in 2021, and they’re still opening new categories, indeed I know companies desperately keen to sell on TikTok but who are unable to as their category is yet to be activated. SoSweet, who have sold close to £1million revenue from a single TikTok shop listing were only able to start selling in October 2022 when the food and beverage category opened.

That should suggest that the ecommerce incumbents, eBay, Amazon, OnBuy, Wish etc, don’t have too much to worry about yet. Even more so, when you consider that consumers primarily visit TikTok for entertainment but when they open a marketplace app they have a clear shopping intent and if they don’t make a purchase it’s frankly a failure.

On TikTok, shopping is taking off, 85% of consumers have purchased a product after seeing it reviewed on social media platforms with live shopping is expected to make up to 10-20% of ecommerce globally by 2026. 2 out of 3 users are likely to buy something while using TikTok with 1 in 3 TikTok users who discovered something on TikTok immediately when on to buy it!

But it’s when we come to the numbers that the real problem for eBay and Amazon starts to show.

Latest numbers indicate that eBay have some 129 million active users, while Amazon wins with over 310 million active users. But TikTok is growing fast boasting 503.52 million downloads of their app in the first half of 2023 according to data acquired and calculated by Finbold.

TikTok’s global quarterly downloads for Q2 2023 reached the highest figure in the past three years, totaling 260.8 million downloads. What’s more, these download figures indicate a year-over-year growth of 17.86% compared to the Q2 2022 value of 221.3 million. This value equates to an average of 2.7 million daily downloads throughout 2023.

Interestingly, Finbold point out that over the last three years, TikTok’s quarterly download numbers have exhibited fluctuations. The peak was observed in Q2 2020, with 292.1 million downloads, while the lowest was recorded in Q4 2021, amounting to 162.3 million downloads…. but 162.3 downloads is still more in a quarter than eBay’s 129 million total active users!

The problem isn’t here today, it’s not even imminent as retailers on TikTok report sales on the entertainment platform don’t cannibalise their sales on other channels. What those we’ve spoken to do report is when they get their marketing right that their TikTok activations outsell other channels but customers appear to be a totally different demographic. When your intent is to shop, many will continue to turn to eBay and Amazon, but TikTok are a platform where entertainment turns to discovery and discovery turns to shopping and whichever way you cut it that’s revenue and available discretionary spend that’s been diverted to the new commerce upstart.

Of course not everyone that downloads TikTok goes on to use the platform regularly and not everyone that users the platform regularly makes a purchase. But with TikTok’s movement from pure entertainment to becoming a discovery led marketplace, as they continue their rapid deployment of new shopping tools and features (the most recent of which is the launch of Fulfilled by TikTok in the UK) the problem for eBay and Amazon will continue to grow. It will be interesting to see how they respond in the coming years.

2 Responses

  1. On buy ,an incumbent?????
    We all have to earn our living ,but for an information site, credibility has to be the

    1. Sometimes I have to check I am reading ChannelX and not China Daily. The way TikTok is shoved down our throats. It’s not a credible platform. Just because lazy parents have been unable to prevent their kids from being brainwashed by this degenerate CCP-controlled app, that does not mean we’re all chomping at the bit to sign up to it.


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