Technology

New eCommerce fashion player in South Africa – taking on Shein, Superbalist, and Bash

Chinese eCommerce marketplace Temu has rapidly grown in the country following the launch of its South African site last month and is taking on established players with its cheap products and free delivery. 

Temu is owned by and operated by PDD Holdings, which also owns Pinduoduo, a popular online commerce platform in China.

It has rapidly expanded around the globe, expanding to the United States in September 2022 and quickly becoming the most frequently downloaded app in the US in 2023. 

Temu tops the most downloaded free app charts in the US and some European countries, including the UK, and became the most downloaded free shopping app in Japan and South Korea within months of being launched.

On 17 January 2024, Temu made South Africa the 49th country in which it operates as it seeks to expand its dominance to other markets. 

In South Africa, the Chinese eCommerce marketplace faces stiff competition from local companies such as Superbalist and Bash and its compatriot, Shein. 

Temu has fiercely competed with Shein worldwide, using low prices to compete against more established players. 

This running battle has even resulted in several lawsuits between the companies in the past couple of years. 

The battle will continue in South Africa, as Temu has staked its claim on the market and wants to be the cheapest eCommerce marketplace available. 

Temu is using its popular coupon discount and free shipping services, which are familiar to users in other regions, in South Africa. 

Most of the product prices range from R10 to R300, with some more expensive products, such as inverters and batteries, crossing the R1,000 mark. 

A Chinese media outlet reported that Temu’s logistics partner in South Africa is Fastway, with 6 to 20 days delivery time, slightly longer than other regions’ logistics efficiency.

Temu has grown rapidly in South Africa in the short time it has been in the market. Its mobile app already ranks in the top three for free apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 

Shein also cracks the top ten in fifth place, while Bash and Superbalist fall well outside the top 10. 

Temu’s launch in South Africa and Amazon’s entrance later this year show that the country’s eCommerce market is poised for significant growth in the coming years. 

Bob Group managing director Andy Higgins said South Africa’s eCommerce market lags that of other emerging markets, making up less than 5% of total retail sales. 

Higgins said eCommerce sales in the country are worth around R70 billion compared to R1.4 trillion in total retail revenue. 

The market is poised for substantial growth in the coming decade, and the entrance of global players will accelerate that. 

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