TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world boasting more than a billion users, but did you know it also has its own shop?

Around 2.8 million people in the UK made a purchase on the TikTok Shop in 2023, according to consumer watchdog Which?.

TikTok Shop sells a range of products including everything from headphones and make-up to beard trimmers and toilet paper.

What is TikTok Shop?

TikTok Shop, which is integrated into the social media app, officially launched in the UK and the US in 2023.

Like Amazon and eBay, the social media platform's shopping service is a marketplace where products are sold by third parties, not by TikTok itself, Which? explained. 

The consumer watchdog continued: "It offers sellers a huge audience of potential customers and nets a 5% commission in return. According to TikTok, sellers must be located in the UK.

"There are big-name brands and high-street retailers on TikTok, such as Garnier and M&S.

"You’ll also find plenty of private and third-party sellers you’ve never heard of, as well as influencers who are paid to promote products to their followers (more on that below).

"7% of UK adults purchased a product through TikTok last year according to our nationally representative survey - that’s around 2.8 million people."

How is TikTok shop so cheap?

TikTok Shop’s prices are often "remarkably cheap", but why?

Which? explains: "This is partly because the social media app funds promotions to lure in customers and boost new sellers’ sales.

"New customers are offered special deals, coupons and free delivery on their first order. It's also a marketing tactic: users often post videos about their amazing bargains. 

"TikTok also charges a lower commission rate than Amazon and eBay and some sellers pass this saving onto their customers.

"Lots of brands and retailers do flash deals or sales that are exclusive to TikTok in the hope of attracting customers and going viral.

"There are also lots of very cheap goods from China on TikTok Shop. When we checked the ‘exclusive deals’ available, four of the top 10 products were shipped directly from China including a tracksuit for just £3.96 and leggings for 97p."

Is TikTok Shop safe to use?

TikTok scams

TikTok shop has a 1.4 star rating on Trustpilot from 240 reviews.

86% of those reviews are just one-star.

Which? said: "The majority of negative reviews from shoppers say their items never turned up.

"In some cases, the seller’s TikTok account disappeared soon after they placed their order.

"Other complaints were from people who received poor-quality items, faulty goods or terrible customer service."

Dangerous products

Unlike regular online retailers, marketplaces such as TikTok Shop aren’t legally responsible for the quality and safety of the products sold by third-party sellers, Which? added, with some not not vetted at all. 

An investigation carried out by Which? found a number of unsafe products on TikTok Shop including several electric heaters.

And despite TikTok’s counterfeiting policy banning the promotion or sale of fake goods, a number were found on the social media's shopping service during analysis by The Guardian in 2023.


How to stay safe on TikTok shop according to Which?

For those looking to use TikTok shop, Which? issued six tips to help you stay safe while doing so:

  1. Do some research before you buy - check customer ratings and reviews
  2. Don’t trust creators' product reviews
  3. Avoid buying electricals, toys and big-ticket items from unknown sellers
  4. Look out for counterfeits
  5. Check the delivery cost and return policy
  6. Pay with a credit card if you spend more than £100

To access TikTok Shop on your mobile, simply open the app and select 'shop' positioned at the top of the screen.