Standing at the forefront of digital engagement for internet 3.0 and helping to redefine the relationships brands, retailers and publishers have with their customers, Firework, the short-form video platform designed to bring a shoppable, livestream video experience to any website, today released its series of predictions for the engagement, video and web spaces in 2022.
Firework is releasing its predictions after a year of breakneck growth, positioned at the center of an explosion in short-form and livestreaming commerce and engagement. Quarterly short-form video views on Firework's network increased by an astonishing 861% from 2020 to 2021, and the company expects quarterly views to exceed 5 billion by the end of the year.
Now, as the industry looks forward to the next 12 months and beyond, leaders at Firework have put together key predictions based on expertise as frontrunners in the market and from insights gleaned through their work with some of the world's brightest organizations. Their predictions include:
The end of the “platform era” and the ongoing shift to the internet 3.0: The social media platforms are wearing out their welcome—and will soon wear out their utility, as well. As the social media giants have consolidated power—and eyeballs—over the last decade-plus, they've also built up a lot of ill will. Their inability and unwillingness to put user privacy and safety first, and their refusal to give brands and organizations a winning shot at engagement will continue to drive users and companies off platforms. In turn, the growing shift toward the internet 3.0, a decentralized online environment in which traffic, commerce, engagement and conversation happen in equal measure across the open web, will continue to accelerate. New tools—Firework's short-form video and livestreaming solutions among them—are serving as the building blocks of the internet 3.0, allowing individuals and companies to create immersive experiences on their own digital properties; to become platforms themselves without relying on social media walled gardens.
The livestream revolution is well underway: A full two-thirds of Chinese consumers report buying products via livestream in the last year, and livestream sales are expected to reach a mind-bending $423 billion by 2022. That pervasiveness of livestream shopping might seem outlandish by U.S. standards, until you ponder the raging success of home shopping television networks like QVC in the 1990s, operating on a similar model. Plus, the livestream ecommerce wave has already reached our shores. American retailers are waking up to the value of real-time, engaging, shoppable video. Although some of the early iterations of livestream shopping have been choppy at best (hello, Amazon Live?), more engaging, organic and immersive livestream formats are coming to the fore. And as millennials—and particularly Gen Z—continue to gain buying power, livestream ecommerce will only continue to grow as U.S. retailers come to the realization that shoppable video is possible on their own sites and by their own terms.
Media and commerce are converging: Purchases don't happen in a vacuum. Neither does content consumption. Everyday purchasing decisions are strongly influenced by everyday life, including what we see, hear and experience online through content consumption habits—the purchasing funnel is long and circuitous. In 2022, we'll see the lines between commerce and media blur even further. Consumers will increasingly opt for online experiences in which they can engage with peers, learn and talk about products, and purchase them—without ever having to click away. Stores will be studios, and studios will be stores. Publishers will increasingly push out commerce and liveshopping capabilities. The new pathways to engagement, discovery and revenue will be distributed across the open web.
Retail media will grow—and evolve: Retail media is still a growing space, but as brands move farther away from the social media platforms, we expect to see retail media rise in tandem. Brands are looking to take their messages to the places where shopping happens, instead of indirectly aiming at target audiences on social media, away from the point of purchase. Still, as retail media continues to grow, the format will need to change. An overwhelming majority of retail media is currently display-based, which will need to evolve as consumers look for the same dynamic experience they get on social feeds. As retail media evolves to leverage video—including shoppable video—we'll see a major boom in the space.
“It's clear that we're entering a new digital world order as we flip the page to 2022,” said Yang. “Brands, retailers and publishers see the writing on the wall—or they will soon. Consumers are looking for new ways to engage with content and products, they are sick of signing away their privacy for social media dopamine hits, and they are ready to navigate a new, decentralized web to connect with their peers. Now it's up to brands to adapt with the times.”
Firework will start 2022 coming off a run of exponential growth, having signed key agreements with industry leaders like Albertsons Companies, Heinz® and PGA Tour, and having capped off the year with a landmark investment from Amex Ventures.
Firework is the world's leading immersive "shoppertainment" platform with shoppable video, live streaming commerce and monetization capabilities powering over 600 direct-to-consumer brands, retailers and media publishers worldwide. Pandemic-accelerated, Firework has experienced 10x year-over-year growth, bringing TikTok-like interactive video experiences to your own website or app. Firework enables its customers to create and host native, shoppable video content for engaging product discovery, seamless shopping experiences and ultimately, a deeper emotional connection with consumers. The company is backed by IDG Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and GSR Ventures, with over $100 million in capital raised to date. To learn more, please visit firework.com.