The ugly side of the lockdown’s broadband triumph

© Nokia

© Nokia

  • It had to have one. It’s called Revenge Shopping and it may well be as bad as it sounds
  • Live streaming programmes are being used to rev up customers for some binge shopping as their economies open
  • Shopping eh? One month you’re scratching around for toilet paper, the next you’re staggering home with the latest 8k smart television

We all enjoyed the post lockdown congratulatory phase where the industry basked in the warm glow of public approval for the way it steered itself through the pandemic without missing a beat (almost).

But if that was in any way deserved, then we should also take responsibility for a less than savoury side-effect. 

Livestreaming has apparently gained an extra toe-hold though the pandemic as those confined to their homes for weeks on end - and slowly going mad with boredom - discovered a new medium offering the illusion of meaningful interaction with someone/something beyond the four walls of their dwellings. In itself that doesn’t sound too evil and it’s not. Educational streams and like were very useful.

But one of the consequences of of this new-found up-to-the minute technological diversion, has been be to promote something called “revenge shopping”. 

Revenge shopping is one of those essentially meaningless namings. As with ‘Black Friday’, which caught on a few years back, it’s an attempt to provide an exciting, novel but transgressive name for a deeply stupid activity that the commercial powers-that-be want to promote. 

In this case, it’s about stampeding to the shops to buy ‘stuff’. (Actually, come to think of it, it’s exactly like Black Friday). 

According to IDC, which has taken early notice of the phenomenon, ecommerce livestreaming is being used to rebuild consumer confidence in China in particular. The idea is to use the medium to rev up the moribund customer for a frenzied return to the shops to make up for all the retail therapy he or she could have been enjoying through the lockdown. 

IDC says Chinese online players “ and KuaiShou have signed an agreement to cooperate on the "618" shopping holiday as a starting point for a strategic partnership.

“ has positioned itself in the ecommerce livestreaming field, while Taobao Live has also released many kinds of "618" livestreaming promotion methods and brought together a number of leading channels and influencers. The 618 ecommerce livestreaming has become an industrywide event, and everyone is looking forward to some "revenge shopping", IDC maintains

OK, But ‘revenge shopping’ against who?

“It’s payback for being cooped up for 2½ months,”said one observer. “They want to go out and do some things they’ve been denied.” 

You name that activity 'revenge shopping', I call that an act of coining an aggressive and almost heroic name for an impulse that’s actually just pathetic. When it comes to hyper-consumption, I’m with Greta Thunberg. 

According to IDC, “Livestreaming ecommerce has an important impact on consumer behaviors. On the one hand, it stimulates the ‘unplanned’ consumption of users. During the post-epidemic period, streaming has become a means of stimulating consumer demand, creating more opportunities for revenge shopping. On the other hand, ecommerce livestreaming has greatly accelerated the customer journey and improved the efficiency of converting viewers to customers. 

“The livestream hosts private traffic allows more users to recognize the brand, and its marketing capability allows users to quickly understand the product and generate interest, while its credibility, premium capability, and limited stock as Key Opinion Leader (KOL) can quickly entice users to place orders. IDC research shows that more than 23% of consumers are affected by KOL's livestreaming marketing, not by their self-driven demand for products, which leads to unplanned consumption. This ratio is even higher among those under the age of 30.”

Says IDC, “eCommerce livestreaming shortens the distance between business and customers, while extending sales communication time, making full use of users' fragmented leisure time, and combining the host's roles of advertising, sales, and channel as well as other roles, greatly improving sales efficiency.”

Well that’s one way of looking at it. Mindless consumption is another. 

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