According to media reports, TikTok’s online shopping service in the US is failing to attract sellers in significant numbers. Despite attracting hundreds of registrations from interested parties when it first launched in November 2022, it is suggested that fewer than 100 retailers are actively selling on the platform.
TikTok Shop: The Opportunity
On paper, TikTok looks like a fantastic sales opportunity. The social media platform recently celebrated that 150 million Americans (nearly half the nation’s population) are now on TikTok. TikTok also claims the app is now home to almost 5 million businesses that use the platform for marketing their services.
The platform is particularly attractive to businesses targeting younger audiences. According to Jungle Scout, more Gen Z consumers (43%) start their online shopping searches on TikTok than on Google or another search engine.
TikTok also makes it incredibly easy to sign-up for the service, promising to set sellers up for business on the platform within one day.
The fact that TikTok only allows US-registered businesses to sell in its US store, effectively blocking foreign sellers from flooding the market with cheap products as happens on eBay and Amazon, should be seen as a huge incentive to engage with the channel.
So why are so few US retailers selling on TikTok?
Is TikTok About To Be Banned?
The current geopolitical situation doesn’t help. With alleged spy balloons shot down in US airspace, rising military tensions in the Pacific, and concerns regarding the security of the app leading to governments and organisations around the world banning TikTok from official devices, there is growing concern that TikTok might be about to be banned in the US and other territories.
TikTok, which employs 7,000 workers in the US, is fiercely defending the app against allegations that it is a threat to national security.
A recent statement from TikTok said, “To proactively address US national security concerns, we’ve taken unprecedented steps by enhancing safeguards for our US users. Over the last two years, we’ve invested $1.5 billion in setting up TikTok US…