Mita Amalia Hapsari & Fito Erlangga, Jakarta – Traders at Jakarta's Tanah Abang Market – Southeast Asia's largest textile wholesale center – recently reported a 50 percent drop in turnover amid the live-shopping-with-celebs trend on online platforms such as TikTok.
Livestream shopping – particularly ones that are hosted by celebrities – has come under the spotlight after many Indonesian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) reported declining sales.
And it is not because these MSMEs refuse to go online. Many MSMEs tried to keep up with the trend by going live on TikTok. They, however, struggle to compete with shops that have celebrities and internet personalities as hosts.
The growing worries among Indonesian small businesses prompted MSME Minister Teten Masduki to check on the Tanah Abang Market sellers.
"I heard [the trend] took a toll on the Tanah Abang market. The average sellers admitted that the turnover decline even topped 50 percent," Teten said on Tuesday.
According to the minister, the traders said they struggled to compete with online shops, especially those who sold imported goods.
"And it turns out that these MSMEs have tried to sell their goods online, but they still could not compete," he added.
Arka, who sells clothes at Tanah Abang, reminisced about the market's heyday.
"Social media platforms and e-commerce have really dealt a fatal blow to our sales in the market. Back then, Tanah Abang was Southeast Asia's largest wholesale market. But that was all in the past," Arka said.
"We tried selling our products on TikTok Live. But we lost to the shops that had influencers and celebrities as hosts," Arka added.