20.06.2023 | by Lili, Oliver & Rebecca
Find out what we discovered!
If you’re unfamiliar with the marketplace, here’s a little background info. Founded in 2022, Temu is one of the youngest e-Commerce ventures to date. Although the company’s headquarters are in Boston, US, its owner is the China-based PDD Holdings that also owns the popular Chinese marketplace Pinduoduo.
Temu is a general marketplace offering products in a wide variety of categories, including fashion, home and kitchen, children’s clothing, jewellery, electronics, furniture, toys and games, office supplies, footwear and much more.
The products are displayed in the popular tile format, introduced by social media and used by many other marketplaces, including Wish and AliExpress. The similarities don’t end here: in fact, just like Wish & Co, Temu also tries to attract new customers with heavy discounts and flash sales.
Screenshot of temu.com advertising special deals in ten separate places
Temu is currently available in 10 countries, including Australia, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland, but generates the overwhelming majority of its traffic (96%) in the US. The marketplace ships most of its products directly from China, evading the cost of keeping warehouses all over the world.
This means that shipping takes a bit longer, between 6-14 business days. However, Temu tends to absorb shipping costs and is thus able to draw customers in with the offer of free shipping. They even offer customers a five-euro bonus if the shipment is late.
Screenshot of temu.com displaying a 5 € credit for late shipment
According to Temu’s own report, the marketplace handles 61 billion orders per year, possesses about $20 billion in equity and works with over 11 million sellers.
The Temu app has been downloaded over 50 million times since its inception, thanks to the aggressive advertising campaign that culminated in a Super Bowl ad with the slogan: “Shop like a billionaire.”
Still image of Temu’s Super Bowl ad on youtube.com/watch?v=RgNuwb9lpeg
Although Temu is relatively young, it seems to have already gathered a troublesome reputation. Customer reviews complain about sloppy customer service, missing items, bad quality products, misleading ads and even a potentially poisonous product arriving in the mail.
Screenshot of https://www.bbb.org/us/ma/boston/profile/online-shopping/temucom-0021-553943/customer-reviews displaying customer reviews of Temu
Just scrolling through the site, we also noticed dark patterns: language and visual effects that urge customers to act quickly and without thinking.
Screenshot of temu.com displaying dark patterns
At a first glance, the marketplace seems to feature a lot of bad quality products, including lookalikes and fakes. Seller information is quite scarce (only a nickname and customer reviews are visible), which means that customers can’t be sure who they’re buying from.
Screenshot of https://www.temu.com/be-en/zc-smart-el-mall-m-4690881966854.html displaying a random seller’s shop on Temu
Let’s see what else we can uncover with a test purchase on Temu!
As it was the unbelievably good deal on Lenovo headphones that has gotten us intrigued by Temu, we decided to purchase that item from the marketplace. We chose this listing for 9.19 €.
Screenshot of temu.com taken with our tool screenseal displaying Lenovo earphones
Since Temu requires a minimum purchase of 10 euros, we added a small item to our cart and headed to checkout.
The purchasing process at Temu is easy and straightforward. We placed the product in our cart with a click, gave our delivery address and were directed to payments. Temu accepts all major payment options, including credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Klarna and PayPal.
As for delivery, we were offered free shipping by DHL and a delivery date within 7-14 business days. The package arrived earlier than the estimated time frame, just after 5 business days including the day of ordering. Unfortunately, the good news ends right here.
Screenshot of our order confirmation page on temu.com
Upon trying the product, we noticed that the quality is not up to what we’d expect from Lenovo. It’s hard to put them in as the fit is not very good and wearing them becomes uncomfortable after a short time. Moreover, the quality of the sound transmitted was very poor. We ran a sound test and already during setup we noticed how soft the control signals were, which made it really hard to understand the instructions.
Finally, when we tried listening to music, the low quality of these earphones became even more evident. They didn’t transmit the higher and lower range of sound appropriately, which made the otherwise very good song we were listening to bland and boring.
All in all, these results are quite what we’d expect from 9.19 € earphones. However, this is definitely not in line with Lenovo’s brand image. Taking all of this into consideration, is it possible that we’re dealing with a fake product here?
Even though Lenovo’s original XT91 earphones are marketed as budget, they still cost at least twice as much and the reviews testify to their quality - something our newly acquired earphones definitely lacked.
Temu is an up-and-coming marketplace that seems intent on making it big. Although the company does have an IP protection policy, complaints of counterfeits, low quality lookalikes and even potentially poisonous products have started surfacing regularly. Temu seems to be a marketplace to watch - albeit for all the wrong reasons.
If you’re worried about fake versions of your products making it to Temu (or any other marketplace), contact us and together we will solve your IP protection issues.