FTAG Group, a Singaporean multinational conglomerate with wide business interests in the technology and financial sector, sees live-streaming and live e-commerce as massive market opportunities amid rising demand due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Live-streaming activities have increased by almost 50% compared to pre-COVID levels and the industry was estimated to be worth USD50 billion in 2020. It is projected to grow at 28.1% CAGR and worth USD 247 billion by 2027, according to Markets Research Future.
This has fueled a spike in interest from investors like FTAG Group, who recently acquired a stake in Singapore-based live-streaming startup BeLive Technology through its venture arm FTAG Ventures. While established platforms like Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube may command a large proportion of the market, FTAG believes that the industry has plenty of room for new players like BeLive to take it to the next level.
BeLive offers businesses interactive live-streaming features that include live shopping and recently launched Z-Live, an in-app live-streaming platform for fashion e-commerce startup Zalora. Its clientele also includes Japanese e-commerce giants Rakuten and Bukalapak, one of Indonesia's top e-commerce marketplace.
"Traditionally with live-streaming, the business model is based on advertising revenue and subscriptions, while traffic is mostly driven by individual content creators that deliver gaming and entertainment-related content," FTAG Group Chairman Kelvin Chng commented. "We believe that live-streaming will transform how businesses operate in the new economy and the potential for application is massive, especially in e-commerce and live events such as exhibitions, concerts, and sports. That's where we'll be looking at with the most interest."
Live e-commerce could well be the solution for struggling businesses worldwide; global retail sales declined 5.7% in 2020 with thousands of retail stores going out of business, highlighting the urgent need for retailers to adopt a more digital approach to succeed in the current environment. At the same time, football clubs in England's top-flight Premier League are facing a shortfall of USD 717 million for the 2020/21 season due to lost matchday revenue, according to the Financial Times. This loss of income could be potentially offset through the sale of merchandise during a live match session.
The benefits of live e-commerce are already evident in China, where companies like Taobao and JD.com are hiring social media celebrities as well as ordinary salespeople to reach out to prospective customers and promote products through live video streams. It is said that an outstanding host can generate millions in sales in just a few hours.
With such stakes at hand, FTAG will be looking at every opportunity to invest further in the sector. The firm says that it has already tied up several partnerships to stream live events by the fourth quarter of 2021 and is expected to announce further details soon.