Smart watches for around $11. Wireless earphones for $9.48. A mini HD camera for $6.
These are just a few of the best selling items on e-commerce site Temu, which burst onto U.S. screens with its Super Bowl ad slot last week.
The advert made Temu’s point of difference clear. “The prices blow my mind,” the backing track sings. “I feel so rich. I feel like a billionaire. I’m shopping like a billionaire.” Its bargain prices—by some Western countries’ standards—allow people to get swathes of goods without breaking the bank.
The Super Bowl ad comes after months of steady growth for the platform, which is linked to one of China’s top retail sites. It was the most downloaded shopping app in the country as of October, surpassing the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart, according to Marketplace Pulse.
Its meteoric rise hasn’t slowed according to the latest data from Sensor Tower, which said it was downloaded by five million iOS users last month and two million Android users.
Keen to continue its growth, Temu—pronounced “tee-moo”—looked to introduce itself to the public in the biggest way possible at the Super Bowl. A spokesperson for the brand told CNN: “Through the largest stage possible, we want to share with our consumers that they can shop with a sense of freedom because of the price we offer.”
Temu App Official Big Game Ad | Shop like a Billionaire— Temu (@shoptemu) February 13, 2023
Celebrate Temu’s Debut at the Big Game
With Temu’s shockingly low prices, you feel you can buy whatever you want. Download the app now and enjoy shopping like a billionaire.#Temu #ShopLikeaBillionaire #LowPrices #temu100 pic.twitter.com/aQeg5nHjA8
But where did Temu come from? According to its website it was launched in Boston in 2022 by parent company PDD Holdings Inc. The brand also owns Pinduoduo in China, which had 751.3 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2022 according to Statista.
Temu adds on its website that its aim is connect consumers with sellers and supply them with high quality and affordable products “with the mission to empower them to live their best lives”.
Another major factor in its appeal is its copious amounts of coupon codes and sales. At the time of writing, Temu’s Spring Shop promises up to 90% off with a ticker of free shipping on all deliveries running out at midnight the same day.
A pop-up box promises 20% off if users sign up for alerts, while students get a 15% discount as well. On Twitter the brand often sends out coupon links for extra money off, with users also appealing for new sign-ups to use their personal coupons so that they’re given a free gift.
Get a massage while you wash your hair! ✨🙌— Temu (@shoptemu) February 18, 2023
Click the link🔗 to shop in Temu!💕🛍️
✅ Enjoy an extra 30% off with coupon code: pace597 #temu #shoptemu #temubeauty #temufinds pic.twitter.com/VDPGOrmy2g
The next Shein?
This isn’t the first time a bargain items platform has disrupted America’s e-commerce world. Online fast fashion outlet Shein got a big break during the pandemic as its competitors were hampered by bricks-and-mortar stores which were forced to shut up shop. Buoyed by backing on TikTok, downloads of the Shein’s app surged to 193 million in 2021, up from 67 million in 2019.
And its target market is also the U.S., according to BusinessofApps, which revealed that the U.S. is the largest region for revenue for Shein and its second largest for usage. Its valuation has fluctuated, the website added, having rocketed from a $5 billion valuation in 2019 to $100 billion in early 2022. In 2023 it declined to $64 billion -begging the question of whether consumers have moved on from uber-cheap buys.
“Temu might be exposing a white space in the market wherein brands have been producing at extreme low cost, and along the value chain there’s been so much bloated cost passed on for margin,” Michael Felice, an associate partner at management consulting firm Kearney, told CNN. “That said, American consumers might not even be ready to accept some of these price points… There’s always the question, ‘is it too cheap to be good?’”
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