Will ByteDance’s European shopping app Fanno close?

If TikTok is a success in the social media sector, including in France, ByteDance has a harder time carrying out its e-commerce diversification strategy. Fanno, the live shopping app launched in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK in November 2021, has not taken off in France.

Fanno is a marketplace that connects Chinese sellers and European buyers, like Ali Express. There are cheap products such as a connected watch at 5 euros, a “synthetic leather” bag at 6 euros, a cheerleader costume at 12 euros, but also much more expensive objects like a food processor or a treadmill.

In the depths of the app stores

The app, launched without much communication reinforcement, was downloaded 103,000 times in France alone, according to data from the Data.ai analysis tool, for iOS and Android. Today, it seems to no longer have a commercial existence. After 48,400 downloads between late November and late December, the number of downloads dropped to 54,000 during the first three months of 2022 and less than 1,000 in the second quarter.

At its best on January 20, 2022, on Apple smartphones in France, Fanno reached #63 in top e-commerce app downloads. After April 5th, the app dropped off Data.ai’s radar on the iOS platform. By that date, it had dropped to 480th place.

On Android smartphones, Fanno peaked between January 1 and 4, 2022, rising to 12th position among shopping apps by number of daily downloads. By offering products at low prices, the market had to attract consumers with cheaper smartphones than Apple’s.

On the consumer review site Trustpilot, there are only 26 reviews for Fanno’s site, most of which are negative.

Closing rumors as early as May

These numbers echo a rumor, relayed by the website specializing in Chinese technology. pandaily, who mentioned last May the termination of the application. The rumor was then denied by the company. Sources reporting the news said that Fanno’s team was disbanded in April as orders had not reached a satisfactory level. The rating is apparently much better in Italy than in other European markets.

In the job postings currently online on the Bytedance website in the UK (the hub of TikTok’s European headquarters), there is no mention of Fanno, not even in the e-commerce advertisements. On the other hand, traces of the market can still be found in some job descriptions of e-commerce data scientists in Asia, in which Fanno is mentioned among the “TikTok Ecommerce Platforms”similarly to the TikTok store, which focuses on live shopping.

Bytedance wants to reorient its core business

The future of Fanno and, more broadly, of TikTok e-commerce in Europe, is uncertain to say the least. According to information from Financial Times, TikTok would abandon its expansion strategy for live shopping in Europe and the United States. This telesales model, profitable in China, is not consolidated in the Old Continent.

Launched in the UK last year, it was supposed to debut in France, Germany, Spain and Italy in the first half, but plans have been revised in light of results across the Channel. According to FT, the London-based e-commerce team suffered an employee hemorrhage, which was followed by the dismissal of its director. Under these conditions, it’s hard to see how Fanno could still benefit from the investments needed to maintain it.

Especially since ByteDance CEO Liang Rubo reportedly internally declared on August 31 that the company would reduce its investments in activities outside its core business, in a context where many initiatives have not delivered the expected results, the technology website reported. Chinese Late Post and the South China Morning Post. Contacted by L’Usine Digitale, ByteDance did not respond to our request.

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