By Lewis Hu | Dec. 7, 2023, 09:50 GMT

During December and January, China is expected to witness a peak in live-streamed seafood sales, marked by a substantial surge in the demand for shrimp and salmon, according to a major player in the sector.

According to a report from Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, seafood sales on the platform surged in the third quarter of 2023, with an impressive month-on-month increase of 119% in August alone.

As indicated by the report, the surge in sales in August and September is partially linked to concerns about Japan’s disposal of Fukushima plant water, prompting consumers to make earlier purchases. Moreover, the conclusion of China’s off-season fishing in August led to an increased seafood supply.

Historically, December and January have been peak periods for seafood sales on Douyin. Given the rapid growth in live-streamed sales this year, the seafood sales peak is anticipated to continue from the end of this year into early next year.

Shrimp is the top-selling seafood category on the platform, with frozen shrimp accounting for 75%, followed by peeled shrimp and fresh shrimp from local farms. The growth of locally farmed shrimp has slowed, while the market for imported, frozen shrimp is experiencing faster growth. The transaction prices for shrimp products range from CNY 50 to CNY 150 ($7.07 to $21.20).

Large yellow croaker, hairtail, and salmon are the top three fish varieties. The report said the markets for large yellow croaker and hairtail are approaching saturation, while there is still growth potential for salmon.

The major selling points for fish products are convenience, ready-to-eat, and easy cooking. Imported marine fish primarily drive sales in the high-price segment of fish.

Among seafood consumers on Douyin, the primary age group is between 24 and 40 years old, mainly residing in first-tier cities, with a higher proportion of females than males. The report said that since the beginning of the year, seafood video views have decreased while sales revenue has increased, indicating a rising conversion rate for video-driven sales.

During the China Seafood Summit held in Xiamen on Nov. 13-15, researcher Li Yongjian from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said several online fresh product shopping platforms have shut down in the past three years. However, live streaming and short video e-commerce are gaining momentum, he said.

In certain categories, sales on Douyin have surpassed those on Taobao and Tmall, platforms under Alibaba Group. On May 20 last year, a live stream on Douyin sold 24,000 American lobsters, generating revenue of CNY 10 million ($1.38m), he said.

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