TikTok reportedly drops plans to expand its live e-commerce ‘Shop’ venture to the US

TikTok has reportedly dropped plans to expand its live e-commerce “TikTok Shop” initiative to the United States and additional parts of Europe, according to the Financial Times. The company launched TikTok Shop in the U.K. last year, its first market outside Asia, allowing companies and influencers to sell products through QVC-style livestreams. However, the venture has struggled to gain traction with consumers and suffered from internal problems.

The company had reportedly planned to launch TikTok Shop in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of this year, and then in the U.S. later this year.

People familiar with the matter told the Financial Times that the expansion plans have been abandoned after influencers dropped out of the project in the U.K. and the venture struggled to gain traction with users. A TikTok employee told the Financial Times that general consumer awareness and adoption is still low in the U.K., as many TikTok Shop livestreams achieved poor sales despite efforts to encourage brands and influencers to sell through the app.

The Financial Times reports that TikTok said it doesn’t have any current plans to expand its shopping features and is focused on making TikTok Shop a success in the U.K.

TikTok did not respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

Livestream shopping is becoming increasingly more popular in Asia and particularly in China, as TikTok parent company ByteDance has seen sales on Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese sister app, more than triple year over year.

The report comes as TechCrunch recently reported that TikTok is testing a dedicated “Shop” feed tab that lets users browse and purchase products from a number of different categories, such as clothing and electronics. The feed tab is currently being tested in Indonesia and serves as a hub for products being sold in TikTok Shop.

TikTok’s new Shop tab seems to be similar to Instagram’s. The Meta-owned platform introduced its redesigned Shop tab in 2020 and describes it as a place for users to browse products from their favorite brands and creators. TikTok’s larger goal with its Shop tab could ultimately be to challenge Facebook and Instagram.

The launch of the Shop tab indicates that TikTok is doubling down on its TikTok Shop plans in Asia, while retracting them in some markets.