Bloomberg’s latest dive into TikTok’s finances includes some useful information on the company’s ambitions in e-commerce. “TikTok plans to grow its e-commerce gross merchandise volume to $2 billion this year and $23 billion in 2023,” claimed the piece, citing a source close to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
It also noted that the company already has experience of a rocketing shopping business in China, where its Douyin app “hosted $26 billion of e-commerce transactions in its first year of offering shopping in the app and that business tripled in size over the past 12 months”.
TikTok has been edging into e-commerce for some time now, having started testing shopping features in late 2019. In August 2021, it expanded a deal with e-commerce firm Shopify to launch ‘TikTok Shopping’ in the US, UK and Canada.
Artists have been part of these tests too. In November 2021, TikTok music boss Ole Obermann talked about merch tests with Billie Eilish and Lizzo.
“We were able to link the artist TikTok account to a commerce page in order to promote a pre-order of an upcoming release,” he said. “So these were physical products that were actually being sold, and the numbers were very, very impressive. Many, many, many thousands of units within a very short period of time that we were able to see the click-through to.”