On Tuesday, Meituan hosted an eleven-hour live event, during which Mixue Bingcheng, a Chinese ice cream and tea chain, reached over RMB 100 million ($14.5 million) in sales. Luckin Coffee also sold one million coconut lattes during the same event. The success of this event has motivated Meituan to organize regular live commerce promotional events every 18th of the month, as reported by local media outlet Caixin. Multiple brands are already preparing for next month’s session.
Meituan’s online takeout event series was introduced in response to the strong competition from Douyin and WeChat Channels, which have integrated food delivery options into their platforms. The food delivery giant’s first event was hosted by livestreamers from popular video platforms such as Bilibili and Douyin. The report noted that Meituan currently lacks popular influencers on its own platform.
As the COVID-19 pandemic drives consumers online, Chinese live commerce has seen explosive growth, with the sector’s GMV projected to reach RMB 1.05 trillion ($160.3 billion) by 2022, according to data from QuestMobile. Live commerce, which blends livestreaming, e-commerce, and social media, has been a popular marketing tool for brands looking to boost sales and connect with consumers during the pandemic.
In addition to Meituan, Alibaba’s Taobao Live and Kuaishou have also seen significant growth in the live commerce sector. Taobao Live’s GMV reached RMB 400 billion ($61.2 billion) in 2020, while Kuaishou’s GMV hit RMB 120 billion ($18.4 billion) in the first half of the same year.
While the pandemic has been a key driver of live commerce growth in China, the trend is expected to continue beyond the pandemic. In a report released by iiMedia Research, live commerce is projected to represent 20% of China’s e-commerce market by 2022, up from 9.2% in 2019.
As Meituan expands into live commerce, it will face stiff competition from established players and rising newcomers. However, with the success of its first event and the continued growth of the live commerce sector in China, Meituan’s move into the space could be a smart strategic decision.