Temu, intensifying its build of a value-retail niche in the United States, reached out to consumers via extensive holiday promotions highlighting its low-priced products.
According to Coresight Research, which has tracked and produced studies on the e-tailer owned by PDD Holdings, a major part of Temu’s appeal is its many, hefty promotions. Home décor and housewares were among the products heavily promoted for the 2023 holidays. Although, as with its main competitor in the United States, Shein, Temu has a fast-fashion orientation, it has from the beginning made specific home-oriented goods prominent in its sales plans with a focus on merchandise that appeal to the younger consumers who were its initial target. Temu signaled how serious it is about the U.S. e-commerce market by running commercials during the 2024 Super Bowl television broadcast.
In an interview with HomePage News, Temu detailed its holiday initiatives and consumer response. It should be noted that the holiday promotions were integrated into a larger approach to consumers that includes not only low prices but also free returns within 90 days and free shipping for now, as well as social media and influencer marketing. The approach helped Temu attract younger consumers in the U.S., including Gen Zers who have limited financial means. Amid its recent holiday marketing push, for example, a rainbow-colored 32-ounce sports water bottle with tracking graphics was offered for $1.39.
HomePage News: What categories are in particular demand from Temu customers who are shopping the home furnishings/housewares side of your operation?
Temu: Our customers are always seeking ways to declutter and systemize their living and work spaces while adding personal touches, so affordable, multifunctional, and high-quality organizers are in high demand. Whether it’s for the bathroom, kitchen, shoes, storage, important documents, office desk, skincare or makeup, Temu has a wide range of products for all organizational needs.
HPN: The portable drinkware segment looks to be especially strong on the Temu site. How important are related categories?
Temu: The portable drinkware category is a popular category for younger consumers. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of designs, styles and colors to express their individuality. There’s also increased interest in home glassware as younger consumers can enjoy making their favorite bubble teas, matcha drinks, coffee beverages, cocktails and smoothies at home. Consumers can choose from a vast array of different glasses, from milk carton-shaped bottles to can-shaped cups to mushroom cocktail glasses. Lighting also remains a big one for younger shoppers, specifically neon LED lights that feature different capabilities such as dimming, color-changing, and music-syncing.
Temu Bottle Gift Box
HPN: What other categories of home-related merchandise and brands are popular with younger consumers?
Temu: In general, camera products such as dash cams, doorbell cameras, and security or pet cameras for inside and outside homes., etc., are consistently popular in the smart home sector. Decorative pillows continue to be a big hit with Gen Z as they fit the post-modern-inspired, maximalist aesthetic that is currently popular with that generation. Millennials, on the other hand, seem to favor more mid-century modern and minimalist styles.
Gen Z shoppers gravitate towards bright colors, whimsical decor and rounded corners/edges. We’re noticing that mushroom decor is gaining popularity with this generation at the moment: mushroom lights, mushroom-shaped pillows, mushroom print mats, and blankets. The same goes for soft/plush cloud-inspired products like bedding, lights, indoor slides, mirrors and tissue boxes. Across all categories, cloud-anything is sought after. As for Millennials who are now homeowners or settling into more permanent accommodations, they seem to be more focused on cleaning and cooking appliances. That said, thanks to social media poking fun at the ‘Millennial gray,’ many Millennials also seem to be incorporating more color into their home furnishings.
HPN: Where are sales in home décor and housewares going?
Temu: We do not disclose sales numbers, but what we can say is that we’re seeing strong demand.
The Temu Approach
As characterized by Coresight, Temu is a cross-border marketplace accessed by an app and website that was launched in September 2022 by multinational commerce group PDD Holdings, which was founded and operates in China as well as internationally. Although the launch was low-key, Temu became popular in the U.S. in just a few months, topping 18 million app downloads in its first five months in operation, Coresight noted. In addition to the app, consumers can shop on the Temu website.
Temu also uses social media extensively, offering demonstration videos on Facebook for everything from egg storage containers to holiday decorations to electronic accessories. In another instance, Temu features video seasonal fashion presentations on Pinterest, not to mention demonstrations of inexpensive kitchen appliances such as citrus juicers.
Temu’s work with influencers is an important part of its consumer outreach, and they can get compensated for promoting the company’s products in their own online presentations. Shoppers can earn rewards by sharing referral links or codes via social media and messaging apps. The gamification aspect of consumer outreach enables shoppers to receive discounts, gift cards, credit and other perks.
Coresight Research has reported that, in a February survey, 52% of Temu customers initially learned about it through social media, beating out advertising at 43%
Customer browses Temu app
In addition to its other attributes, Coresight indicated, Temu particularly emphasizes personalization. The company takes customer browsing and order history and uses them to develop notifications and reminders for gifts and exclusive promotions through the messaging channel within the app.
However, such features generate some of the criticism Temu receives. Many of the discount codes are only valid for a day. Some complaints about Temu involve gamification and discounts, especially when customers become frustrated by not being able to get or use rewards they have earned. Also, online fraudsters have targeted Temu. However, Coresight points out that, after 50,000 reviews, the Temu app had a 4.6-star rating.
Temu has taken steps to address some of the negative feedback. In November, Temu announced it was asking customers to identify and report fraudulent websites and apps that impersonate Temu. The company identified scams launched in association with its brand, including claimants purporting to be a courier who then demanded additional shipping fees; sellers alleging they represent Temu who solicited payments using alternative methods, such as QR codes, e-wallets and wire transfers; and the creation of websites and apps that closely mimic Temu, often accompanied by false notifications of winning a prize. The safest way to avoid scams, Temu asserted, is to link directly to its website at www.temu.com or to download the Temu app from the Apple App or Google Play store.