In recent years, Li Jiaqi, an influential e-commerce live-streaming anchor, has made a significant impact on China's e-commerce and live-streaming landscape. Dubbed the "lipstick king", Li Jiaqi mesmerized millions of viewers with his entertaining live shopping sessions and extraordinary sales prowess. However, last year, his sudden departure from the live-streaming industry and subsequent three-month absence left his fans and followers wondering about his future. It was not until September that Li Jiaqi resurfaced, making a comeback and reigniting his live-streaming career.
The Rise of Li Jiaqi:
Before entering the live-streaming industry, Li Jiaqi was a beauty consultant at a luxury cosmetics counter, consistently achieving top sales. In late 2016, during the trial operation of Taobao Live, a live-streaming competition was held between Taobao and L'Oréal. Li Jiaqi seized the opportunity and stood out, successfully becoming a Taobao live-streaming anchor. His charismatic personality, infectious energy, and deep understanding of products and brands quickly garnered a massive fan base. In September 2018, Li Jiaqi successfully set a Guinness World Record for "most lipstick applications in 30 seconds," earning him the title of "Lipstick King." During the "Double 11" promotion of the same year, Li Jiaqi competed against Jack Ma in selling lipsticks and emerged victorious. By June 2019, Li Jiaqi had nearly 50 million fans across various platforms. On October 17th, Li Jiaqi was included in Forbes China's 30 Under 30 list. Today, Li Jiaqi has surpassed 100 million fans across the internet, with millions of viewers tuning into his live-streaming sessions during promotional periods. He has become China's undisputed "top anchor" and a formidable force in e-commerce platforms like Taobao.
One of the key factors behind Li Jiaqi's success is his tremendous influence over consumer behavior. For instance, his "lipstick tests" involve real-time application of various lipstick shades during his live streams, with his recommendations and endorsements capable of generating a sales frenzy within minutes. His unique ability to engage with viewers, answer their questions, and create a sense of urgency has instilled a fear of missing out among consumers, prompting impulsive purchases. As a top anchor with over 100 million fans, Li Jiaqi wields immense influence within his fan community. Li Jiaqi attaches great importance to the "emotional value" that his live-streaming provides to viewers. He has conducted 389 live-streaming sessions in a year, with each session lasting around four hours, fearing that viewers might forget him. The "companionship" Li Jiaqi offers his fans became the catalyst for his comeback. During his three-month absence, countless fans called for his return to the live-streaming platform. His first live-streaming session after his return attracted an audience of 60 million viewers, and many of the items were snapped up in seconds.
In 2020, during the "618" shopping festival, Li Jiaqi's live streams generated a Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) of 180 million RMB. In the following year's "618" festival, his live streams achieved a remarkable GMV of 2.858 billion RMB. What’s more, during the biggest e-commerce promotion festival "Double 11" in 2021, his live streams reached an astonishing GMV of 10.65 billion RMB.
In 2022, the MCN (Multi-Channel Network) company behind Li Jiaqi achieved a GMV of 65 billion RMB in total.
In the recent "618" festival of 2023, Li Jiaqi's live streams generated a GMV of 4.977 billion RMB, marking a 21.4% year-on-year growth. These figures demonstrate that Li Jiaqi's live streams continue to experience robust growth, with his comeback resulting in even better data. His magical influence has not diminished despite the controversy and hiatus he faced for three months.
Despite being indisputably China's top live-streaming anchor, Li Jiaqi faces several challenges. As other anchors emerge, Taobao (Alibaba platform), the platform that holds Li Jiaqi as its "ace," has grown concerned. Taobao aims to support more small anchors to avoid reliance on Li Jiaqi alone. The same mindset is shared by the MCN company Li Jiaqi belongs to. Putting all their hopes on Li Jiaqi carries the risk of placing all their eggs in one basket. Therefore, Li Jiaqi's company is searching for more anchors and leveraging Li Jiaqi’s influence to increase other anchors’ visibility.
Moreover, the ever-changing preferences and tastes of consumers pose a challenge for Li Jiaqi to continuously cater to their evolving demands. Staying relevant and consistently providing fresh and engaging content is essential for retaining audience attention and loyalty.
The Future of Li Jiaqi:
Despite the challenges, Li Jiaqi has demonstrated extraordinary adaptability and resilience throughout his career. He has expanded his product categories from cosmetics and skincare to fashion, lifestyle, food, and consumer electronics. He maintains strict control over the quality of products promoted in his live streams, always providing honest and straightforward reviews, even if it means displeasing the brands. Additionally, he has participated in variety shows, allowing consumers to gain insight into the selection process and negotiation with brands in his live streams, increasing consumer engagement and loyalty. Furthermore, he has collaborated with brands to design co-branded products and engaged in numerous charitable activities.
As one of the earliest and unwavering anchors in the e-commerce live-streaming industry, Li Jiaqi's position at the pinnacle of the pyramid is difficult to shake in the short term. While the rise of smaller anchors and fewer resource allocations by Taobao and his company may reduce the GMV of his live streams, he still possesses a level of trust from consumers that other anchors cannot match. As long as he continues to put effort into his live streams, it will be challenging to dethrone him from his industry-leading position in the coming years.
As China's e-commerce and live-streaming industries continue to evolve, Li Jiaqi faces significant risks. However, his adaptability, innovation, and genuine qualities will play a crucial role in his long-term success. As a charismatic influencer and astute entrepreneur, Li Jiaqi has left a profound impact on the industry and serves as an inspiration for many aspiring influencers. Regardless of the future, Li Jiaqi's undeniable influence on the e-commerce world will continue to captivate audiences and shape the future of influencer marketing and live-streaming.
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