YouTube Ventures into Live Commerce with Launch of Official Shopping Channel in South Korea

In an exciting development, YouTube is set to debut its very first official shopping channel dedicated to live commerce in South Korea. According to a report from Yonhap news agency, the channel is scheduled to go live on June 30. This strategic move demonstrates YouTube’s ambition to tap into the thriving live-streaming commerce landscape in South Korea, where tech giant Naver has already established a dominant presence. The country’s dynamic market serves as an ideal testbed for the global heavyweight as it aims to enhance its shopping capabilities.

The forthcoming channel will be conducted exclusively in the Korean language and will commence as a 90-day pilot project. Initially, it will provide a live-commerce platform for businesses, with plans to feature live-streamed shopping content from approximately 30 prominent brands. Reliable sources cited by Yonhap and other Korean media outlets have shared these insights.

This venture marks a significant milestone for YouTube, representing its first official shopping channel in any country. Although specific details regarding YouTube’s future shopping features remain undisclosed, a spokesperson for the platform has hinted at the possibility of experimentation.

Recognizing the potential to facilitate seamless shopping experiences for users, YouTube aims to leverage its vast creator community, brands, and captivating content. Philipp Schindler, Google’s Chief Business Officer, emphasized this objective in February, citing the need to adapt in a landscape where YouTube’s ad revenue faces challenges from reduced advertiser spending and competition from platforms like TikTok.

The announcement has already sparked market reactions. Naver’s shares experienced a decline of 4% during Wednesday morning trading, while retailer Lotte Shopping saw a decrease of 3.3%, in contrast to the broader market’s 0.5% drop.

Projections indicate substantial growth for South Korea’s live commerce market, with an expected increase from 2.8 trillion won in 2021 to 10 trillion won ($7.7 billion) this year. Currently, Naver commands around 60% of the market share, according to Kyobo Securities.

(Exchange rate: $1 = 1,291.1600 won)

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