What is Temu, the most-downloaded online shopping app in the US?

A new online shopping platform, Temu, has risen in popularity and had more downloads than Amazon at the end of 2022.

Launching last year, the online marketplace connects shoppers with “millions of sellers, manufacturers and brands” worldwide, per the company’s official site. It was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, by PDD Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: PDD), which also runs Pinduoduo, an agriculture company based in China.

Temu rose in downloads during the end of the year, as reported by CNN. Abe Yousef, a senior insights analyst at the analytics firm Sensor Tower, told the publication in February that during the fourth quarter of 2022, “app installations for Temu exceeded those for Amazon, Walmart, and Target”.

Sensor Tower also shared that since the app debuted in September 2022, it had been downloaded more than 24m times and had more than 11m monthly users who actively used the app.

What is Temu and how did it get started?

Temu’s official website describes its platform as being “committed to offering the most affordable quality products to enable consumers and sellers to fulfil their dreams in an inclusive environment”. The company, whose name is pronounced as “tee-moo”, also aims to bring brands from all across the globe together”. More specifically, the term Temu means: Team Up, Price Down.

The company was established with the help of PDD Holdings’ “vast and deep network of merchants, logistic partners”. PDD Holdings has also seen great success as a company and “generated US$14.7 billion revenue, US$2.2 billion net income and US$4.6 billion net cash from operating activities” in 2021 alone.

In addition to receiving over 61 billion orders a year, Temu also has more than 10,000 employees worldwide. The brand’s site specified that they have some major strengths, including the “ability to source the best products globally” and “experience in managing complex logistical supply chains”.

How do you use it and what can you buy from it?

The superstore offers many different categories to look through, including home appliances, men’s clothing, musical instruments, and children’s fashion. A majority of the products are put up for an extremely low cost, with a pair of Lenovo’s wireless headphones currently being sold for $16.98.

Along with electronics, some other outfits for momentous occasions are listed on this site. For example, a “Lace Trim Split Thigh Wedding Dress” is up for $18.98 and while a “Lace Applique Plunging Wedding Dress” up for $23.48.

After creating an account, shoppers can add their desired products to their online cart. People who buy from Temu will not only receive free shipping on their orders but they can also return their purchases for up to 90 days.

Is Temu legit?

While Temu has more than 11 million monthly users, the products’ prices begs the question of how similar it could be to Shein, an online fast-fashion brand for women known for its cheap prices. In a statement to The Independent, a spokesperson for the brand specified just how different it is from Shein.

“While Shein is primarily a fast fashion app, Temu is a multicategory e-commerce marketplace that sells products across over 250 product categories,” the spokerson said. “In addition, Shein sells its own brand-name products; however, Temu is a pure third-party marketplace that sells products from third-party sellers and connects them to the customers directly.”

Temu also emphasised how committed it is to creating quality products that are also affordable.

“This could happen because of the global sourcing network Temu and Temu’s parent company PDD Holdings has built over the past decade,” the spokesperson added. “There have been too many layers between the sellers and the consumers that if we reduce those and also leverage on Temu’s Next Gen Manufacturing process which helps sellers understand consumers’ preferences better and in a more timely manner, costs can be substantially and structurally reduced.”