TikTok launches lucrative new shopping feature in UK

TikTok has launched a new feature in the hopes of improving the platform’s e-commerce performance.

The new app section, called “Trendy Beat”, has appeared on UK TikTok users’ interfaces, according to the Financial Times. Via Trendy Beat, users can purchase items that appear in videos on the platform, increasing the conversion of online traffic to sales.

Most importantly, however, all items advertised on Trendy Beat are shipped from China and are sold by a Singapore-based company owned by ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. Unlike TikTok Shop, through which TikTok earns a small commission from vendors’ sales, TikTok will retain all earnings generated through Trendy Beat transactions.

TikTok Shop, TikTok’s integrated e-commerce solution, was launched in Indonesia in February 2021, followed by releases in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Singapore in 2022. While TikTok Shop was successful in Southeast Asia, it was reportedly “shunned” by UK customers after its launch there in 2021.

UK customers are not used to a social commerce model in which online interaction and purchasing sit side-by-side. As a result, advertisements for products on the app are largely viewed as an annoyance. UK customers are also put off by the uber-low prices of products on the app, which they interpret as indicative of poor product quality.

It is not clear that the launch of Trendy Beat will address these underlying problems. However, TikTok may be hoping that a significantly higher profit margin from the new feature will offset its weak reception in the UK and other Western countries.


Join our newsletter