Last updated: TikTok Shop: Stats, use cases, and tips brands need to know

TikTok Shop: Stats, use cases, and tips brands need to know


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First, there was the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend. Now, TikTok Shop has emerged as the latest darling of social commerce—even amidst the looming threat of a U.S. ban. Since its launch last September, the platform has taken off, quickly becoming a significant player in the commerce space.

Designed to capitalize on the app’s highly-engaged and massive user base, TikTok Shop seamlessly blends social media engagement and e-commerce, and offers brands a unique opportunity to connect with their consumers.

What makes this platform so powerful? And what do brands need to know to successfully sell on TikTok? Let’s get into it.

TikTok Shop: The eye-popping stats

Even before TikTok Shop, TikTok was already the leading social platform for impulse purchases, with 55% of users having made an impulse buy through the app.

Now, less than a year since its U.S. launch, TikTok Shop is reporting impressive revenue figures, quickly surpassing other established social media platforms like Instagram:

  1. TikTok Shops generated $11.09 billion in gross merchandise volume (GMV) in 2023, with beauty and personal care accounting for 22.5%
  2. In the U.S. alone, the app generated $363 million just two months after launching
  3. In February 2024, TikTok Shop was responsible for 68.1% of social shopping GMV, according to a report by Earnest Analytics
  4. As of April 2024, more than 11% of U.S. households had purchased a product through TikTok Shop

This growth highlights the platform’s unique ability to engage users and drive conversions. While other platforms take a more linear approach of capturing users’ attention and then driving purchase, TikTok enables what’s been long sought after by brands: the ability to do both seamlessly and simultaneously. Brands can connect directly with users, who can buy items without leaving the app.

“[Our goal is] creating the most seamless shopping experience possible for users to discover and purchase products,” Ray Cao, managing director and global head of product strategy & operations at TikTok told AdAge.

Real-world TikTok Shop use cases

Brands across various industries are capitalizing on TikTok Shop’s unique features to drive sales. Many have even explored TikTok-specific strategies—such as exclusive product launches and sales events—to hone in on the platform’s distinctive value proposition.

Benefit Cosmetics first started using TikTok Shop in the U.K., and has expanded into the U.S. since its launch. The cosmetics brand has been using the platform to build buzz and excitement around new product launches and brand collaborations.

The brand also hinted at their desire to use the platform to discover and connect with new audiences they may otherwise may not have.

E.L.F. Cosmetics has used the app to unveil new products. They did a four-day TikTok campaign for their new setting spray, complete with an original song and livestreaming product demos. And for a limited time, the product was sold exclusively through TikTok Shop.

While beauty brands are a natural fit for the platform, all types of brands see potential. For example, Coca-Cola and Nike have been testing the waters with limited-edition exclusives available through the app.

But not everyone’s a fan

While the early numbers tell a story of resounding success, user reception of the social commerce platform has been mixed.

Many users especially younger Gen Zers and millennials have been enthusiastic, appreciating the blend of entertainment and shopping with fewer steps in between. But others have been skeptical, especially with the potential ban and lawsuits ever-present in the news. Concerns about the platform’s security still loom large.

There are less dire concerns, too. Even users who appreciate the (maybe dangerously?) seamless shopping experience worry about TikTok becoming overrun with ads, potentially ruining what made the app so popular to begin with.

3 tips for TikTok Shop success

TikTok’s platform presents an opportunity for brands to interact with their audience in real-time, answer questions, and showcase products in a way that feels organic and engaging. This interactive approach not only enhances the shopping experience but also builds loyalty.

Here are three steps brands can take to make sure their TikTok Shop strategy gets the results they want:

  1. Create high-quality, engaging content that captures the attention of users. Short-form videos, creative storytelling, and visually appealing content are crucial for standing out in the fast-paced TikTok environment.
  2. Leverage user-generated content. UGC is a powerful tool for building credibility and authenticity on TikTok. Encouraging customers to share their experiences and tag the brand in their posts can create a sense of community and trust, ultimately driving more sales.
  3. Use TikTok’s analytics tools. TikTok offers a range of analytics tools that can help brands track their performance and optimize their strategies. By analyzing data on engagement, reach, and conversion rates, you can gain valuable insights into what works and what doesn’t, allowing you to refine your approach and maximize impact.

Boon or ban: The future of TikTok

For now, TikTok shows no signs of slowing down, with plans to expand its shopping platform to continental Europe this summer, starting with Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Meanwhile, the possibility of a TikTok ban in the U.S. presents a significant challenge for brands that have invested heavily in the platform. A ban would not only disrupt their current marketing strategies, but also force them to find alternative platforms to reach their target audience.

Companies already heavily invested in the platform should prepare to pivot if needed, diversifying the social commerce strategy. Does that mean time and already money spent have been wasted? Of course not.

The lessons learned from TikTok Shop’s success will likely influence social commerce strategies—and future platforms—for years to come.

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