Buying app Temu is utilizing TikTok’s technique to maintain its No. 1 spot on App Retailer • TechCrunch


Temu, a buying app from Chinese language e-commerce big Pinduoduo, is having fairly the run because the No. 1 app on the U.S. app shops. The cellular buying app hit the highest spot on the U.S. App Retailer in September and has continued to carry a highly-ranked place within the months that adopted, together with because the No. 1 free app on Google Play since December 29, 2022. Extra just lately, Temu once more snagged the No. 1 place once more on the iOS App Retailer on January 3 and hasn’t dropped since — even outpacing competitor Shein’s each day installs within the U.S.

Providing low-cost factory-to-consumer items, Temu gives entry to a variety of merchandise, together with quick vogue, and pushes customers to share the app with mates in alternate without spending a dime merchandise, which can account for a few of its progress. Nonetheless, the massive majority of its new installs come from Temu’s advertising spend, it appears.

When TechCrunch coated Temu’s rise in November, the app had then seen just a little greater than 5 million installs within the U.S., in response to knowledge from app intelligence agency Sensor Tower, making the U.S. its largest market. Now, the agency says the app has seen 5 million U.S. installs this January alone, up 19% from 4.2 million within the prior 22 days from December 10 via December 31.

In line with Sensor Tower estimates, Temu has managed to realize a complete of 19 million lifetime installs throughout the U.S. App Retailer and Google Play, greater than 18 million of which got here from the U.S.

The expansion now sees Temu outpacing rival Shein by way of each day installs. In October, Temu was averaging round 43,000 each day installs within the U.S., the agency mentioned, whereas Shein averaged about 62,000. In November, Temu’s common each day installs grew to 185,000 whereas Shein’s climbed to 70,000 and final month, Temu averaged 187,000 installs whereas Shein noticed about 62,000.

The buying app’s quick rise remembers how the video leisure platform TikTok grew to change into probably the most downloaded app worldwide in 2021, after years of outsized progress. The video app topped 2 billion lifetime downloads by 2020, together with sister app Douyin in China, Sensor Tower mentioned. Mixed, the TikTok apps have now reached 4.1 billion installs.

Like Temu, a lot of TikTok’s early progress was pushed by advertising spend. The video app grew its footprint within the U.S. and overseas by closely leveraging Fb, Instagram, and Snapchat’s personal advert platforms to amass its clients. TikTok was famously mentioned to have spent $1 billion on advertisements in 2018, even changing into Snap’s largest advertiser that 12 months, as an illustration.

By investing in consumer acquisition upfront, TikTok was in a position to acquire a following which then improved its potential to personalize its For You feed with suggestions. Over time, this algorithm grew to become excellent at recognizing what movies would entice probably the most curiosity due to this funding, turning TikTok into one of many most addictive apps by way of time spent. As of 2020, children and youths started spending extra time watching TikTok than they did on YouTube. And earlier this month, Insider Intelligence knowledge indicated all TikTok customers within the U.S. have been now spending a median of almost 1 hour per day on the app (55.8 minutes), in contrast with simply 47.5 minutes on YouTube, together with YouTube TV.

Whereas Temu is nowhere close to TikTok’s sky-high figures, it seems to be leveraging an analogous progress technique. The corporate is closely investing in promoting to amass customers, which it makes use of to personalize the buying expertise. One in every of Temu’s key options, in reality, is its personal form of For You web page that encourages customers to browse trending gadgets “Chosen for You.” Along with gamification components, Temu additionally places heavy emphasis on recommending outlets and merchandise on its dwelling web page, which is knowledgeable by its consumer knowledge.

However the app’s progress doesn’t appear to be pushed by social media. Whereas the Temu hashtag (#temu) on TikTok is nearing 250 million views, that’s not likely a exceptional quantity for an app as large as TikTok the place one thing like #canine has 120.5 billion views. (Or, for a extra direct comparability, #shein has 48.3 billion views.) That means Temu’s rise isn’t essentially powered by viral movies amongst Gen Z customers or influencer advertising, however somewhat extra conventional digital promoting.

In line with Meta’s advert library, as an illustration, Temu has run some 8,800 advertisements throughout Meta’s numerous platforms simply this month. The advertisements promote Temu’s gross sales and its extraordinarily discounted gadgets, like $5 necklaces, $4 shirts, and $13 footwear, amongst different offers. These advertisements look like working to spice up Temu’s installs, permitting the app to take care of its No. 1 slot on the App Retailer’s “Prime Free” charts, that are closely influenced by the variety of downloads and obtain velocity, amongst different issues.

After all, having a excessive variety of downloads doesn’t essentially imply Temu’s app will preserve a excessive variety of month-to-month lively customers. Nor does it imply these customers gained’t churn out of the app after their preliminary curiosity has been abated. Nonetheless, Temu’s obtain progress noticed it rating because the No. 1 “Breakout” buying app by downloads within the U.S. for 2022, in response to’s year-end “State of Cell” report. ( calculates “Breakout” apps by way of year-over-year progress throughout iOS and Google Play.)

As a result of Temu’s progress is more moderen, the app didn’t earn a place on the Prime 10 apps in 2022 in both the U.S. or globally by way of downloads, client spend, or month-to-month lively customers, on this report. As a substitute, most of these spots nonetheless went to social media apps, streamers, and courting apps like Bumble and Tinder. The one retailer to discover a spot on these lists was Amazon, which was the No. 7 app worldwide by lively customers and the No. 8 most downloaded within the U.S.

Temu’s advertising funding might not repay in addition to TikTok’s did, although, as different low cost buying apps noticed related progress solely to later fail as customers discovered that, truly, $2 shirts and denims have been offers that have been too good to be true. Want famously fumbled as customers grew pissed off with lengthy supply instances, pretend listings, lacking orders, poor customer support, and different issues customers anticipate from on-line retail within the age of Amazon.

Temu at the moment holds a 4.7-star score on the U.S. App Retailer, however these rankings have change into much less reliable through the years because of the ease with which corporations can get away with pretend critiques. Dig into the critiques additional and also you’ll discover related complaints to Want, together with scammy listings, broken and delayed deliveries, incorrect orders and lack of customer support. With out addressing these points, Temu appears extra prone to go the way in which of Want, not TikTok, it doesn’t matter what it spends.



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