TikTok Shopping: Is It Time To Get Serious About Social Shopping?

John W Hayes
3 min readFeb 28

If your target market is the lucrative Gen Z demographic (18 to 25-year-old shoppers), TikTok Shopping should be high on your list of priorities for eCommerce channels to explore right now. But how seriously should you take the social shopping opportunity, and what are the challenges and opportunities of this relatively new sales channel?

TikTok vs. Meta (Facebook/Instagram/WhatsApp)

Despite being a newcomer to the social scene, TikTok is giving more established social brands a run for their money.

According to a recent survey, social media users are now making ten purchases a year on TikTok, compared to nine on Meta channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This figure increases dramatically when you look at Gen Z shoppers who, on average, buy upwards of 19 items per year on TikTok compared to 18 on Instagram and 15 on Facebook.

TikTok Owns Influencer Marketing

Much of TikTok’s eCommerce success is down to how it has harnessed the incredible power of the online influencer. Stealing the thunder of competitive channels like YouTube and Instagram, TikTok has successfully blurred the line between social media and more traditional television shopping channels. As such, TikTok is a particularly attractive sales channel for consumers to engage with presenters and influencers who can demonstrate how the product is used. This makes TikTok perfect for selling products like cosmetics, electronics, and more innovative items you never knew you needed until TikTok showed you.

Interruption Marketing

While there are influencers and brands that engage with TikTok and run scheduled sales events, most of the sales generated on the channel will be impulse purchases. As such, TikTok can be defined as an interruption marketing channel. It has more in common with the crazy middle aisle in Lidl or Aldi than the clearly defined shopping categories of sites like eBay and Amazon, where people will actively seek your products out.

Much of TikTok’s success is down to its algorithm, which automatically delivers content and enables users to discover influencers without actively searching…

John W Hayes

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile: https://amzn.to/2OO5DR5