TEMU, the platform between AMAZON and SHEIN with meteoric growth

TEMU, the platform between AMAZON and SHEIN with meteoric growth
The Chinese platform Temu, non-existent two years ago, is triumphing thanks to its low prices, but it is accused of achieving this by promoting excessive consumption and thanks to questionable working conditions.

“In addition, Amazon are altar boys,” Valérie Fayard, deputy general director of Emmaus France and spokesperson for the Stop fast fashion collective, summarizes to AFP.

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If his compatriot Shein limits himself to fashion, Temu hunts in the lands of the American giant, with a plethora of products: clothing, toys, decoration, tools, high technology…

For example, it offers 7,500 references of wireless headphones, from 1.50 euros to 66 euros.

Launched in September 2022 in the United States, Temu is present in 59 countries, including France, the platform tells AFP.

Temu is the international version of the Chinese e-commerce giant Pinduoduo, born in 2015 and whose financial results increased in 2023.

In France, Temu ranked seventh in the ranking of the most visited commercial sites and applications in the fourth quarter of 2023 (+4 places compared to the previous quarter), according to Médiamétrie and the Federation of electronic commerce and distance selling (Fevad) . , with 17.4 million unique visitors per month (2.2 million per day).

Temu, a generalist platform that also sells colossal volumes of clothing at low prices, rejects the “fast fashion” label.

The AFP is presented as “a +market+ (editor’s note) that puts consumers in direct contact with manufacturers.”

It explains that it contains its prices and its carbon emissions by avoiding “unnecessary steps (…) of transportation, handling and storage.”

In fact, Temu manufactures and ships its products directly from China, unlike Amazon, which depends on its regional distribution centers, Sheng Lu, professor of fashion studies at the American University of Delaware, explained to AFP in 2023.

But for Valérie Fayard of Stop fast-fashion, the prices of Temu, which produces “in terrifying environmental and social conditions”, are the result of less acceptable practices.

In 2023, the US Congress highlighted the “extremely high risk” of “forced labor” of Uyghurs among its suppliers. “We strictly prohibit the use of involuntary labor by our (…) partners,” Temu responds to AFP.

It is also accused of using dangerous components. The Federation of European Toy Industries (TIE), which bought 19 toys from Temu, said in February that “none complied with European regulations.”

In this regard, the platform aims to “monitor sellers and products”, in particular by carrying out “random checks”. “Violation may result in warnings, penalties, product delisting, account closure, or even referral to regulatory authorities in cases of serious or repeated violations,” Temu says.

In France, Fraud Repression began an investigation into fast fashion at the end of 2023, the conclusions of which are expected in mid-2024.

Temu’s expansion could also be thwarted by the “fast fashion” bill, adopted by the National Assembly in March, which bans advertising and provides for greater environmental penalties.

Questioned by AFP, the company “recognizes the important environmental concerns addressed”, without commenting on these measures.

– “Ultra aggressive marketing” –

MP Anne-Cécile Violland (Horizons), author of the text and who had invited all the target groups (H&M, Inditex, Primark, Shein), told AFP that Temu was the only one who did not respond.

Temu’s marketing is also worrying. Aimed at a young clientele, fond of social networks, in 2023 it was the main advertiser on Meta (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) and one of the top five on Google, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Anne-Cécile Violland denounces “ultra-aggressive marketing”, aimed “thanks to artificial intelligence at young people who want to change their clothes frequently and wear models inspired by the brands”.

According to Sheng Lu, Temu relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and data research to “better understand consumers’ habits and lifestyles and thus adapt to demand.”

Valérie Fayard accuses this application of “promoting addiction through the use of game codes”, since its roulettes and slot machines offer discounts.

Temu recently offered its French customers the possibility of purchasing their lifetime data, which is illegal, for a prize pool of 100 euros. The offer was withdrawn.

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