LIGHTS, CAMERA, SELL: RETAILERS WANT YOU TO WATCH AND SHOP
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #474
When Jenna Powell gets in front of a camera, she can sell $10,000 worth of sparkly dresses and tie-dye hoodies in 40 minutes.

Powell, whose three Jennaration shops in Alabama were closed at the start of the pandemic, has put all her focus on selling through live videos, broadcasting live several times a week to 400 people who watch on Facebook or her store’s app. She puts on clothes from her shop, spins for the camera and tries to get viewers to buy.

“This top is a deal for $22!,” Powell says in a recent video about a leopard print sweater she’s wearing. “It’s just very, very well made, y’all!”

Livestream selling, already popular in China, is taking off in the U.S., ushering in a new way for Americans to shop online. Instead of searching for what they want, they pick up their phones, sit back, and click to buy if they like what they see.

This way of shopping is expected to ring up nearly $5 billion in sales this year, and reach $25 billion in 2023, according to retail data firm Coresight Research.

The pandemic is helping to fuel the boom. Business owners with closed stores have taken to livestreaming to sell animal print tops, heated eyelash curlers and just about anything else. They have a captive audience: Many Americans stuck at home with nowhere to go are looking for something to watch. At the same time, tech companies, including Facebook, Instagram and Amazon, have made it easy for businesses to livestream from their smartphones.

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