Cancel OK

The advent of livestreaming sales in the U.S.

pwp tiktok

I know what influencers are. But barely. These are online personalities you trust (for whatever reason) to advise you to buy products of some sort or another.

The influencer trend is mutating into a new form: livestream shopping, reports CNBC News U.S. livestream shopping a target of TikTok, Amazon Live and YouTube (

richard smoley produce blueprints

One influential livestream marketer is Myriam Sandler, whose @mothercould brand has 1.2 million followers on Instagram and 730,000 on TikTok. She goes live online on Amazon for a few hours a week, touting products that she claims has improved her life and that of her three-child family.

The U.S. is far behind China, where livestreaming is expected to bring in $423 billion in 2022.

Taobao Live is the biggest of these, with 800 million monthly active users, according to the GMA e-commerce website. Taobao Live enables viewers to access livestreaming sessions on many kinds of products, including big-ticket items such as cars and appliances. Taobao proved to be a lifeline for many Chinese during the nation’s extremely long Covid lockdowns.

Videos include “chefs broadcasting cooking tutorials in restaurant kitchens.” One restaurant to use this technique was Meizhou Dongpo, whose chefs “streamed live to show viewers how to prepare traditional delicacies. This allowed the brand to share its art with fans and receive direct feedback on its dishes. The sessions also directed consumers to products in the chain’s Tmall flagship store, creating another revenue stream for the restaurant.”

Another item of particular relevance here: Chinese farmers use livestreaming to promote their fruits and vegetables.

This is not a huge step beyond what some people are already doing over here. Kaitlyn Thornton has built up a social media following by posting videos from her family’s Washington apple operation. Kaitlyn Thornton is telling our story on social media – Produce Blue Book

A livestream source telling viewers the best produce buys of the week? Why not?

Our own Pamela Riemenschneider is a growing influencer on TikTok, with more than 1,000 followers Produce with Pamela (@producewithpamela) | TikTok.

Every trend begets a countertrend. Now there are deinfluencers, who tell you what not to buy. “It’s a real threat to the $16 billion influencer marketing economy if the trend of rising above the influence spreads—and lasts,” comments Erica Pandey on Axios.

Even this tactic can be more productive than you may think. Telling people which produce items not to buy may sound counterintuitive, but having a trusted source say, “Don’t buy apples this week; buy oranges instead,” could keep fruits and vegetables at the forefront of consumers’ minds.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.