December 4, 2023

TikTok has reportedly dropped plans to expand its “TikTok Shop” direct e-commerce initiative to the United States and other parts of Europe, according to financial times. The company launched its TikTok store in the UK last year, its first market outside Asia, allowing companies and influencers to sell products through QVC-style live broadcasts. However, the project struggled to gain traction with consumers and suffered from internal problems.

The company reportedly plans to launch a TikTok store in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of this year, and then in the US later this year.

People familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that expansion plans were abandoned after influencers pulled out of the project in the UK and the project struggled to gain traction with users. A TikTok employee told the Financial Times that general consumer awareness and adoption remains low in the UK, with many TikTok Shop live streams having poor sales despite efforts to encourage brands and influencers to sell through the app.

The Financial Times reports that TikTok has said it has no current plans to expand its shopping features and is focused on making TikTok Shop successful in the UK.

TikTok did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Livestream shopping is becoming more popular in Asia and especially in China, where TikTok parent company ByteDance has seen sales on Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese sister app, more than triple a year.

The report comes as TechCrunch recently reported that TikTok is testing a dedicated “Shop” feed tab that allows users to browse and purchase products from a number of different categories, such as clothing and electronics. The feed tab is currently being tested in Indonesia and serves as a hub for products sold on the TikTok store.

TikTok’s new store tab looks like Instagram. The Meta-owned platform introduced the redesigned Store tab in 2020 and described it as a place for users to browse products from their favorite brands and creators. TikTok’s biggest goal with its Shop tab could be to challenge Facebook and Instagram.

The launch of the Shop tab indicates that TikTok is doubling down on TikTok Shop plans in Asia, while declining them in some markets.

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