Prime Day is the best example of social commerce in the U.S. - videos tagged with #primeday2022 were viewed 52 million times on TikTok. Shoppers turned to social networks to discover the best deals rather than trying to find them on Amazon.
Videos tagged with #primeday2022 and related hashtags were viewed 52 million times on TikTok. Last year, it was 30 million, the year before - 6 million. In 2019 it was virtually zero. Not only has TikTok gotten more popular in the U.S., but its users started watching more shopping-related content.
Shoppers turned to TikTok and other platforms because Amazon has given up trying to personalize Prime Day. The event presents an overwhelming yet infinity-long list of deals (millions of deals over the two days), leaving it to the shoppers to find what they like. In the past, media publications tried to surface the best deals (and hope to earn affiliate income). Recently, shoppers turned to social networks.
“I had no idea what to buy on Prime Day, so I went to TikTok,” was a sentiment shared by many shoppers during the event. “True story: when I wanted to find out about all the best Prime Day deals, the first place I searched? TikTok,” shared others. Most of Prime Day was on TikTok rather than Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; its content model works best for that.
TikTok is also perhaps the best at quickly personalizing content to each user - TikTok surfaced videos based on recent engagement with other Prime Day-tagged videos. For comparison, engaging content was again missing in Amazon’s own live video stream during Prime Day. Instead of watching that, shoppers were browsing TikTok.
Amazon and TikTok didn’t work together to enable this, and those videos didn’t have links to products so shoppers could easily purchase. Most of those videos were users sharing deals they found, and shoppers had to manually go to Amazon and find the same product. TikTok’s ambitions are a lot bigger, though: “TikTok plans to grow its e-commerce gross merchandise volume to $2 billion this year and $23 billion in 2023,” according to Zheping Huang’s reporting at Bloomberg.
Social commerce in the West is advertising on social networks - brands buy ads to appear in the feed. Outside of influencers, there is little “social” about that. Yet, Prime Day is social commerce in its purest form - users sharing with other users.