Livestreaming craze: International supplement brands benefit from China’s obsession for short videos

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Livestreaming is now a big part of China's health foods online retail landscape. ©Getty Images
Livestreaming is now a big part of China's health foods online retail landscape. ©Getty Images

Related tags: China, livestreaming, New zealand

Livestreaming is quickly gaining steam in China, and overseas health supplement brands such as Clinicians has benefitted from tapping into the trend.

The New-Zealand brand, the health supplement arm of Douglas Pharmaceuticals, saw its sales jump by 40% in the six months after it began conducting livestreaming sessions on Tmall Global.

It sells two products via livestreaming - a probiotic for women’s health and a nasal spray. It has been engaging about 25 to 30 key opinion leaders (KOLs) to do so.

In the recent Double 11 shopping festival, running from October 20 to November 11, the firm generated about NZD$800k from livestreaming alone.

This is about a-third of its overall gross merchandise volume (GMV), with GMV 2.5 times higher than last year, Carlos Zhao, China market manager at the firm, told NutraIngredients-Asia.

For the past three years, the firm has been selling its products to China via e-commerce retail on Tmall Global.

Zhao said that the retail landscape in China has been evolving rapidly.   

As cases of adulterated products are common, KOLs and livestreaming are deemed as “the agent of trust” ​in China, he said.  

He added that there was a shift in a consumers’ preference. They now prefer to watch short videos over spending time reading reviews.

“Before we used pictures and testimonies, now people want videos. Give me 10secs of the video, tell me what it is about. If I take time to read it, it will take me a minute.”

To answer technical questions, the firm also engages qualified nutritionist from China to join in most of the livestreaming sessions.

Livestreaming platforms in China

These days, most e-commerce platforms in China are equipped with livestreaming services and the model has proved to be a sales powerhouse.

JD said​ that its live streaming engagement during the Double 11 sales this year drove average daily sales 15 times higher than during the 618 shopping festival.

In April, Alibaba also said that its livestreaming sessions on Taobao Marketplace had brought in more than US$15.1bn in gross merchandise volume (GMV), up 400% yoy.

Top notch live-streamers

In China, a number of KOLs have made a fortune doing product reviews via livestreaming.

KOLs such as Viya Huang and Li Jiaqi are familiar names within China’s online space.

The NZ Herald ​reported in August that Viya generated nearly NZD$30m sales her 4.5 hours livestreaming show in Auckland promoting local products to Chinese consumers.

Some of the products that she recommended included manuka honey brand Wild Ferns, Vogel’s cereals, and Good Health New Zealand’s Oyster Plus supplement.

It was also reported that she would visit New Zealand factories to pick the products that she would feature in her show, even negotiating the prices for her audience.

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