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    Shopping like a billionaire - What's the deal with Temu?

    The omnipresence of Temu has left consumers wondering if there is anywhere this retail giant can't reach. Why does it feel like everytime you Google a product only Temu pops up?

    Billions in marketing

    Temu, a Chinese-owned corporation, has invested billions of dollars in marketing to establish itself as a leading online retail store akin to Shein and Amazon. According to the Wallstreet Journal, Temu has consistently outbid rivals for coveted ad space in the digital arena.

    In a report by Media Radar, it was revealed that Temu dramatically increased its advertising budget by 1000% to a staggering $480 million in 2023, with a significant portion allocated to paid social media promotions. Temu made a splash at the Super Bowl, debuting its Shop Like a Billionaire 30-second ad during the first quarter of 2023 and again in the 2024 season.

    Shopping like a billionaire - What's the deal with Temu?


    One of Temu's standout strategies is its gamification of the shopping experience. Consumers are enticed to spin a virtual wheel, offering prizes such as 85% off their purchase. This interactive approach has garnered attention and engagement from shoppers, drawing them into the Temu ecosystem.

    In a recent #BizTrends article by Jacques Du Bruyn, managing director of Flume, he highlighted the significance of gamification in retail: "Gamification builds data for organisations, providing insights into consumer engagement and product interaction. The data collected can be vast, offering valuable insights when properly interpreted." Through gamified experiences, Temu not only entices shoppers but also gathers valuable data for strategic decision-making.

    Temu has also allocated substantial funds towards micro-marketing efforts, utilising influencers to promote products and encourage purchases via platforms such as TikTok and YouTube.

    So what is the temperature from South African consumers?

    Some consumers have complained about its dominating presence on Google and social media, but others have been drawn into the extremely cheap shopping experience.

    @secondtimemamma My greatest bargain EVER: this R32 dress from Temu. R32 is the equivalent of $1.72 �� @Temu *Please note I am not taking away from local brands and we should support local where we can too! #temu #bargain #dress #plussize #curvy #fashion #goodbuy #goodfind ♬ Funk It Up - John Etkin-Bell
    @michaelynvdv super excited to style these pieces!!follow me for the next haul �� @temu #temuhaul #temu #accessories #jewellery #fashiongirl ♬ Jazz masterpiece "As time goes by" covered by a Jazz violinist by profession(962408) - ricca
    @jonesie_ Whats the difference between Shein and Temu? #fyp #fashion ♬ original sound - Dené Jones

    It will be interesting to see how Temu and the introduction of Amazon will perform in the South African market.

    About Karabo Ledwaba

    Karabo Ledwaba is a Marketing and Media Editor at Bizcommunity and award-winning journalist. Before joining the publication she worked at Sowetan as a content producer and reporter. She was also responsible for the leadership page at SMag, Sowetan's lifestyle magazine. Contact her at
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