TikTok has recently announced (1st August 2022) that they will be entering the grocery sector in the UK. Brands will be able to ‘set up shop’ on their pages, fulfilling orders themselves, and be able to work alongside TikTok creators to run live content and offers.
One of the first brands to sell via TikTok shop is Pasta Evangelists, the fresh pasta company, who’s co-founder Finn Lagun sees it as an opportunity to ‘change the face of modern retail’ (https://internetretailing.net/marketplaces/retailers-can-now-sell-fresh-food-on-the-tiktok-shop/ )
With an engaged food-loving community, TikTok can be a ‘springboard to market’ (https://www.thegrocer.co.uk/online/tiktok-selling-fresh-food-for-first-time-in-uk/670006.article) for new food brands and influence the buying habits of its users – for example the impact of TikTok leading to a 700% rise in sales of Little Moons mochi at Tesco. In the height of 2020 lockdown TikTok users headed to the local ‘Big Tesco’ to discover the ice cream dumplings in the freezer aisle and post reviews on the video-sharing platform.
One of the most popular types of video on TikTok is food related content – or #FoodTok. Food content has ‘clocked up over 26 billion views on the platform’ (https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-gb/tiktok-shop-fresh-food-first-time-uk) and has led to viral food trends, such as ‘baked feta pasta’ and ‘whipped coffee’, seeing the demand for certain food products rocket. Users have grown followers and built careers, for example, @PoppyCooks, a Michelin trained chef who was made redundant in the pandemic and now has 2.5 million followers and a recipe book – and even famous chefs such as Gordon Ramsey have joined.
There is also a home on #FoodTok for niche content creators – for example @Clairefromwhere who shares condiment-related content including reviewing various types of mayo and hauls from grocery stores to her 269,000 followers.
So, with a captive audience and apparently seamless transaction process, TikTok shop may just be the latest stockist your brand is looking for – less ‘As seen on TV’ by QVC and more Gen Z.
TikTok, the short-form video sharing platform, was launched outside of mainland China in 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic led to exponential growth for the app, with UK user figures rocketing from ‘3 million UK adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million in March 2021’(https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/220414/online-nation-2021-report.pdf), and ‘18-24-year-olds more than [doubled] their time spent on TikTok, from 17 minutes in early 2020 to 38 minutes by September 2020’(https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/220414/online-nation-2021-report.pdf)
TikTok’s demographic is young – 60% are Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2012), a generation that has ‘grown up in the digital space’(https://www.ft.com/content/9eb9e9d2-6340-44e6-9d56-f2a140f7dee9), and creating content for and engaging with this audience is a key strategy in boosting your consumer base. However, TikTok is not just for Gen Z and its user demographic is changing with significant growth in the 25 – 54 age bracket (https://www.hootsuite.com/resources/blog/digital-2020-report) – with the rise of the OAT (Old Age TikToker) with 7% of UK grandparents using the app (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10800779/Rise-OAT-old-age-TikToker-7-UK-grandparents-active-video-app.html). TikTok provides a large audience for your brand of varying ages, with user numbers in the UK expected to reach 15 million by 2025 (https://www.thedrum.com/profile/honcho/news/how-to-grow-your-business-using-tiktok-shop).