Tech Bytes from Retail & Tech No 80

The latest tech news to inform and inspire

  • TikTok spend. Although adoption has slowed, global consumer spending in TikTok rose 77% to $2.3bn in 2021 compared with 2020, according to Sensor Tower. In the fourth quarter consumer spending in the app reached $824.4m, more than double the $382.4m generated during the same period in 2020. While China remains TikTok’s largest market in terms of spend, its share has diminished significantly, notes Sensor. In the fourth quarter of 2021, 57% of spending came from Chinese users, compared with 85% in the fourth quarter of 2020. The US was the second-largest country in terms of spend, with consumers spending $110m in the short-video app, representing 13% of global revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020. This was five points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2020 when the US accounted for $29.6m, or about 8% of worldwide spending.

    TikTok’s adoption declined in 2021 due largely to losing access to its largest market, India, in mid-2020, notes Sensor. The app reached 740 million first-time installs worldwide last year, down 25% from 980.7 million in 2020.


  • Weibo habits. Videos of unboxing and product reviews attract an average of 15 million views every day on Chinese social-media app Weibo, with videos about cosmetics, skincare, bags and jewelry the most-searched for categories, according to a report on Weibo user behavior by digital marketing agency Alarice. Small and affordable luxury brands have gained interest from female Weibo users. Female users make up 54.6% of Weibo’s user base with the post-90s age group being the biggest spenders among women on the app, making up 49% of the cohort’s total spend. While female Weibo users born in the 2000s value food & beverage and beauty products and services, the post-90s generation opt for more health and wellness offers.


  • Rewarding engagement. Mumbai-based Good Glamm Group has launched a loyalty program that offers rewards for engaging with the group’s digital media and social-media brands. The program has a “One Login” tool that gives loyalty program members access to all the group’s brands and platforms. The program rewards members with “Good Points” for every action they take across the group’s beauty and personal-care brands, such as shopping and reading, watching and engaging with the group’s media platforms. Members can exchange the Good Points for product discounts, social-media shoutouts and access to events and masterclasses.


  • Alibaba slowdown. Alibaba saw its slowest quarterly revenue growth in December since the group was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014. Alibaba Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said issues such as the resurgence of COVID-19, China’s macroeconomic slowdown and increasing competition impacted the group’s performance during the period. Nonetheless, the company said it is on track to reach one billion annual active consumers (AACs) in China by the end of the fiscal year. Alibaba’s AACs reached 1.28 billion globally for the twelve months ended December 31. China’s AACs reached 979 million while international AACs came in at 301 million.


  • Virtual avatars. Cosmetics brand MAC Cosmetics hosted a pop-up in Shanghai earlier this month inspired by the metaverse and with the aim of melding the online and offline worlds. The online virtual pop-up store featured images of virtual avatar Ayayi with whom MAC partnered for the event, as well as large images of the brand’s C3 collection. The physical pop-up in Shanghai mimicked the online version with Chinese KOLs dressed like Ayayi welcoming shoppers. Ayayi has gained attention from beauty brands in recent months after making her first appearance on Little Red Book in May 2021. In June last year, French brand Guerlain invited KOLs, including Ayayi, to attend an event in Shanghai to promote its fragrances. Ayayi was created by RM Inc, a Chinese company that incubates and creates what it calls ultra-realistic digital humans. Ayayi’s fan base is primarily Gen Z consumers, who account for nearly 60% of her followers.


  • Digital ambitions. French department-store group Galeries Lafayette is looking to emerging tech. The group’s owner, the Moulin-Houzé family, recently launched a new office to invest in tech start-ups. The fund focuses investments on areas such as marketplaces, fintech, assurtech, SaaS and Web 3. The start-ups also have access to the group’s network of brands.