TikTok’s unique content trend: users spend big on virtual gifts -report

While TikTok has faced challenges in getting its in-stream commerce elements off the ground, a noteworthy trend has emerged on the platform. TikTok users are increasingly spending in-stream, not on physical products, but on content creators, a development that could signal a broader push into in-app sales.

According to a report by The Information, TikTok users sent over $250 million in digital gifts to live-streamers within the app during Q3. This trend could potentially lead to TikTok generating more income from in-app sales.

This unique content trend involves users sending virtual gifts to live-streamers, prompting reactions from these creators. While it may seem like a novelty, the underlying goal is to make users comfortable with in-app spending. Once users are at ease with this practice, they might be more open to making purchases on other in-stream elements, including products offered through in-stream Shops.

TikTok has been working to enhance the shopping experience for users. In the UK, it introduced a “Trendy Beat” eCommerce store that showcases trending items and is even considering fulfilling orders itself in partnership with retailers to offer faster delivery. 

However, the key challenge is that Western audiences have been cautious about integrated shopping within social apps. They tend to prefer shopping with trusted retailers on dedicated websites, which has slowed the adoption of in-app shopping.

The next strategic move for TikTok could be to explore food delivery and services. This expansion into non-product offerings could be a significant opportunity to engage users with the latest deals in-stream and encourage more in-app spending.

Despite the challenges and hesitations, like concerns about online scams and sharing payment information on social apps, the prospect of simplified, one-click buying could be enticing. TikTok’s increasing user spending trends within the app suggest that people are willing to spend on certain elements in-stream, which could pave the way for more in-app purchases in the future.

Amid the evolving landscape of TikTok’s in-app spending, the platform is not only embracing new content trends but also expanding its potential for brand promotion through innovative features. TikTok is exploring new horizons for brand promotion with its innovative “Out of Phone” feature allowing brands to repurpose TikTok content for various offline mediums.

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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