Temu, an e-commerce app developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, has recently dominated U.S. app stores. After debuting at No. 1 in the U.S. App Store in September, the shopping app has maintained a prominent place in the app stores' monthly rankings, including Google Play's top free app since December 29, 2022. And only recently, on January 3, Temu reclaimed the top spot on the iOS App Store and hasn't relinquished it since.
Temu's rapid expansion is partly attributed to the fact that it offers a wide variety of items, including fast fashion, at low prices and incentivises its users to promote the app with their friends in return for free products. However, a significant portion of its new installations is the result of Temu's advertising efforts.
According to app analytics company Sensor Tower statistics, the United States was already Temu's biggest market when TechCrunch highlighted its meteoric surge in November, with a little more than 5 million installations. The company claims there were 5 million new installations in the United States in January alone, up 19% from the 4.2 million recorded in the 22 days between December 10 and December 31.
Temu’s Audience Reach
Across the App Store and Google Play, Sensor Tower believes that Temu has racked up 19 million lifetime installations, with over 18 million coming from the United States alone.
As a result of this expansion, Temu is currently attracting more new users than its main competitor, Shein, every day. The company said that Temu had an average of 43,000 daily installations in the United States in October, while Shein saw an average of roughly 62,000. While Shein's daily installations increased to an average of 70,000 in November, Temu's increased to an average of 187,000 last month.
The meteoric ascent of the shopping app is reminiscent of TikTok, the video entertainment platform, which was the most downloaded app in the world in 2021 after experiencing years of outsized growth. According to Sensor Tower, the video app and its Chinese counterpart Douyin will have more than 2 billion downloads by 2020. TikTok's app store currently boasts a whopping 4.1 billion downloads.
TikTok, like Temu, owes a great deal of its early success to investments in advertising. The video app expanded its presence in the United States and worldwide by relying largely on advertising services from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. It has been reported that TikTok spent $1 billion on advertising in 2018, making it the single largest advertiser on Snap's platform that year.
TikTok's ability to tailor suggestions in its For You feed results from the company's early investment in user acquisition directly. TikTok quickly became one of the most time-consuming applications due to the investment in an algorithm that learned to predict which videos would be the most popular. By the year 2020, TikTok had surpassed YouTube as the preferred platform for young people to spend their viewing time. And earlier this month, statistics from Insider Intelligence showed that total TikTok users in the US were now spending an average of 55.8 minutes per day on the app, compared to just 47.5 minutes on YouTube (including YouTube TV).
Temu's numbers pale in comparison to TikTok's, but the two apps are using parallel strategies for expansion. The business spends substantially on marketing to attract customers and then leverages that customers' information to provide them with a more customised purchasing experience. Temu has its version of the For You tab, where visitors may look through popular content. With the subheading "Selected for You," it's clear that this page was created just for you. In addition to game mechanics, Temu's site has store and product recommendations generated based on user activity and data.
Temu’s Advertising Spend
In just one month, Temu has reportedly placed 8,900 advertisements across Meta's properties, as documented by the platform's ad archive. There are advertisements for Temu's discounts and deeply reduced things, such as jewellery for $5, clothes for $4, and shoes for $13. Temu's "Top Free" chart position on the App Store seems to be held steady by the app's increasing number of downloads and the rate at which they are being downloaded, both of which appear to have been influenced by these advertisements.
Featured image: Temu
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