Temu is exploding in South Africa

Temu and Shein are experiencing such a surge in orders from South Africa that their logistics partner is struggling to cope.

Buffalo International Logistics, which handles orders from Temu and Shein in South Africa, informed users that their orders would be delayed.

Buffalo International Logistics told customers, “We’re reaching out to inform you of a delay in your order due to a surge in orders.”

The company added that it was also experiencing network issues within its customer service department.

“We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. We expect deliveries to be delayed by approximately one week,” the statement said.

The surge in orders comes only weeks after Temu launched in South Africa. It opened its doors locally on 17 January 2024.

It is taking on established players like Superbalist, Bash, and its compatriot, Shein, through aggressively priced products.

Temu sells products at prices that South African retailers cannot match. It includes its popular coupon discount and free shipping services.

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.

It accompanied its launch with an aggressive online market campaign which is showing good results.

The “Temu: Shop Like a Billionaire” app is the most downloaded app in South Africa among Android users.

It beat WhatsApp, Capitec Bank, Facebook, Shein, Tiktok, Showmax, Spotify, and other popular mobile services.

Temu’s aggressive growth in South Africa, fuelled by millions of rands spent on marketing, should not come as a surprise. It has done the same in the United States.

Temu spent an estimated $3 billion on online marketing in the United States in 2023. It is set to increase this amount significantly this year.

Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that Temu spent $1.2 billion on Meta (Facebook) in 2023, which made it its biggest advertiser.

Research shows that Temu’s aggressive online marketing is working. Millions of consumers now use their app to shop online following its ubiquitous marketing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon executives are more concerned about Temu and Shein than local competitors like Walmart and Target.

The same is happening in South Africa. Temu and Shein are experiencing rapid growth which is worrying Takealot and other online retailers.

Takealot is even looking to sell its fashion retailer Superbalist because of concerns about increased competition from Chinese apparel shops Shein and Temu.

It is understood that Takealot is confident it can compete against Amazon, which is set to launch a South African marketplace this year.

However, it is concerned that low-cost Chinese retailers like Shein, Temu, and Wish may negatively affect Superbalist’s operations.

Experts said it made sense for Takealot to try to offload Superbalist and focus on Takealot with Amazon’s launch looming.

Daily Investor asked Takealot for comment regarding the planned Superbalist sale and the rise of Shein and Temu, but the company preferred not to comment.