(CNN) – A new online shopping platform linked to one of China’s major retailers has quickly become the most downloaded app in the United States, overtaking Amazon and Walmart. Now he’s looking to capitalize on an appearance on America’s biggest stage.
Temu, a Boston-based online retailer that shares the same owner as Chinese social commerce giant Pinduoduo, made its Super Bowl debut on Sunday.
Temu, which runs an online supermarket for virtually everything – from homewares to clothing to electronics – unveiled an in-game ad that encouraged consumers to “shop like a billionaire”.
Field ? You don’t have to be one.
“Through the biggest step possible, we want to share with our consumers that they can shop with a sense of freedom because of the price we offer,” a Temu spokesperson told CNN in a statement.
The 30-second spot shows the company’s proposition to users: You feel like you’re splurging on buying a lot of stuff at low prices. A women’s swimwear on Temu costs just $6.50, while a pair of wireless headphones costs $8.50. An eyebrow trimmer costs 90 cents.
These surprisingly low prices – at least by Western standards – have drawn comparisons with Shein, the Chinese fast fashion newcomer which also offers a wide selection of inexpensive clothing and home goods, and made inroads significant in markets such as the United States.
According to Coresight Research, Shein is seen as one of Temu’s competitors, along with US discount retailer Wish and Alibaba’s AliExpress.
Climb the charts
Temu, pronounced “tee-moo”, was launched last year by PDD, its US-listed parent company, formerly known as Pinduoduo. The company officially changed its name this month.
PDD’s subsidiary, Pinduoduo, is one of China’s most popular e-commerce platforms with around 900 million users. It made a name for itself through a group buying business model, allowing people to save money by enlisting friends to buy the same item in bulk.
On its website, Temu says it uses its parent company’s “wide and deep network…built over the years to offer a wide range of affordable quality products.”
Since its rollout in September, the app has been downloaded 24 million times, racking up more than 11 million monthly active users, according to Sensor Tower.
In the fourth quarter of last year, US app installs for Temu surpassed those of Amazon, Walmart and Target, according to Abe Yousef, senior analyst at analytics firm Sensor Tower.
“Temu rose to the top of both US app store charts in November, where the app still holds the top spot,” he told CNN, referring to the iOS and iOS mobile app stores. Android.
Yousef said the company has been particularly successful in acquiring new users by offering extremely low prices and in-app flash deals, such as 89% off select items.
The company is already eyeing new territories. This month, Temu said on Twitter that he plans to expand into Canada.
Michael Felice, associate partner at management consultancy Kearney, said Temu stood out simply by selling products without high margins.
“Temu could expose a white space in the market where brands are producing at extremely low costs, and along the value chain there have been so many inflated costs passed on to the margin,” he told CNN.
“That said, American consumers may not even be ready to accept some of these prices… There’s always the question, ‘is it too cheap to be good?'”
Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, cautioned that it may be too early to tell whether Temu will be able to maintain those rock-bottom prices, free shipping and other perks.
“Temu aims to continue experimenting with marketing and offerings, which is possible thanks to its resource-rich parent company,” she wrote in a report.
Its launch, she said, “comes at an opportune time, as consumers are looking for value amid continued high inflation and a degree of economic uncertainty.”