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How a Chinese brand is disrupting fast fashion [Video]

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Chinas Shein is possibly the greatest shopping site you’ve never heard of.

Its big, fast and purely digital, wading through the territory of more established rivals, like Zara and H&M.

In September alone, the Sheins app recorded 10.3 million downloads worldwide, according to data from Sensor Tower.

This brought his total to nearly 230 million.

To compare that, the H & Ms app has just over half and Zara has less than a third.

At the end of September, Shein was the world’s most downloaded shopping app on iPhones – according to analytics platform App Annie.

So what are the drivers of its stealthy success?

First of all, its 100% digital.

Traditional brands have large downtown stores, an expensive drawback in the home age.

This gives an advantage to online-only retailers like Shein.

Then there is its effective social media marketing.

Founded in 2008, it is squarely targeting Generation Z.

Exploit tactics like discount codes and influencers on Instagram and TikTok,

it relies on so-called “brand ambassadors” to get clicks.

Finally, here is its main mantra: Quickly transfer low cost, high volume products.

Hundreds of new designs are uploaded to the app every week – with prices roughly half that of its competitors.

Inditex revolutionized the fashion industry in the 1990s by ramping up designs to stores like Zara and Stradivarius using factories close to its headquarters in Spain.

Industry sources say Shein also uses factories near its headquarters in Nanjing.

But while Inditex can get designs from the drawing board to the store in about 3 weeks, Sheins’ lead time is only three days – taking the fast fashion trend into a whole new gear.

Although he is gaining huge success, his visibility is limited compared to his rivals.

Shein is privately owned and does not share sales data.

While H & M’s likes are keen on being transparent, detailing sourcing and working conditions, Shein doesn’t give any details about how its products are made.

Video transcript

China’s Shein may be the biggest shopping site you’ve never heard of. It’s large, fast, and purely digital, breaking into the territory of more established rivals like Zara and H&M. In September alone, Shein’s app recorded 10.3 million downloads worldwide, according to data from Sensor Tower. This brought his total to nearly 230 million. To put that in perspective, the H&M app has just over half of it. And Zara – less than a third.

At the end of September, Shein was the world’s most downloaded shopping app for iPhones, according to analytics platform App Annie. So what are some of the drivers behind its stealthy success? First of all, it’s 100% digital. Traditional brands have large downtown stores, an expensive drawback in the home age. This gives an advantage to online-only retailers like Shein.

Then there is its effective social media marketing. Founded in 2008, it is squarely targeting Gen Z. Exploiting tactics like discount codes and influencers on Instagram and TikTok, it relies on so-called brand ambassadors to garner clicks.

Finally, there is its main mantra: to quickly transfer low cost, high volume products. Hundreds of new designs are uploaded to the app every week with prices roughly half that of its competitors. Inditex revolutionized the fashion industry in the 1990s by ramping up designs to stores, such as Zara and Massimo Dutti, using factories close to its headquarters in Spain.

Industry sources say Shein also uses factories near its headquarters in Nanjing. But while Inditex can get designs from the drawing board to the store in about three weeks, Shein’s delivery time is just three days, shifting from fast fashion to all-new gear.

Although he is gaining huge success, his visibility is limited compared to his rivals. Shein is privately owned and does not share sales data. While the likes of H&M are concerned with being transparent, detailing sourcing and working conditions, Shein gives little to no details on how its products are made.

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