Chinese-owned ecommerce upstart Temu made its Super Bowl debut on Feb. 13, an unofficial coming-out party for an online shopping app that has climbed American download charts since its debut late last year.
PDD Holdings Inc.’s service ran two 30-second spots featuring a trendy shopper twirling and dancing to phrases like “Cha-ching! I feel so rich, oh yeah.” Like Shein, it has gained a reputation for cut-rate pricing and fast delivery. PDD, formerly known as Pinduoduo, said it’s also giving away a total of $10 million to users via online sweepstakes.
Temu launched in September and rapidly scaled Apple’s U.S. app store. It’s now considered a serious competitor to Shein, the fast-fashion phenomenon that has also fired up American shoppers. But PDD, which plans to launch Temu in Canada as soon as this month, offers a broader range of goods from pet supplies to groceries.
Temu momentum and Asia ecommerce leaders
Many apps that enjoy initial success fade away over time as incumbent leaders ramp up competitive pressures. Owner PDD is known in China for making inroads into markets major players cover less, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., such as lower-income rural areas.
Alibaba owns and operates Taobao and Tmall, which hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots in the ranking for Digital Commerce 360 Online Marketplaces. Alibaba also owns Lazada Group, which is No. 2 in the Asia Database, Digital Commerce 360’s rankings of the largest online retailers in Asia by web sales.
Shein Group Ltd. is No. 36 in the Asia Database.
Getting its name from “Team up,” Temu wants to replicate PDD’s social commerce model in North America. If it sustains its initial momentum, the app could join just a handful of Chinese-owned internet services to have succeeded in the U.S., including Alibaba’s Aliexpress and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok.
Super Bowl spots like Temu’s “Shop Like a Billionaire” typically cost millions to produce and air. However, many brands have considered them essential exposure over the years. Analysts expected Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs expected to draw tens of millions of viewers. The Temu ad ran twice on Sunday, during the first and third quarters.
“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,” PDD said in a statement.
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