Near the Twizzlers and Sour Patch Kids at a New York candy store are fruit-shaped soft jelly candies that earned a spot on the shelves because they went viral on TikTok.
A flood of videos last year showed people biting into the fruit gummies’ plastic casing, squirting artificially-colored jelly from their mouths. Store staffers at the candy store chain It’Sugar urged it to stock up, and the gummies did so well that TikTok became part of the company’s sales strategy. The chain now has signs with the app’s logo in stores, and goods from TikTok make up 5% to 10% of weekly sales.
“That’s an insane number,” said Chris Lindstedt, the assistant vice president of merchandising at It’Sugar, which has about 100 locations.
TikTok, an app best known for dancing videos with 1 billion users worldwide, has also become a shopping phenomenon. National chains, hoping to get TikTok’s mostly young users into its stores, are setting up TikTok sections, reminiscent of “As Seen On TV” stores that sold products hawked on infomercials.
At Barnes & Noble, tables display signs with #BookTok, a book recommendation hashtag on TikTok that has pushed paperbacks up the bestseller list. Amazon has a section of its site it calls “Internet Famous,” with lists of products that anyone who has spent time on TikTok would recognize.