TikTok, Shein, and Temu battle for cheap wins

Together with

The Future. Shein, Temu, and the new TikTok Shop are bringing a homely but tried-and-true ecommerce aesthetic from China to Western shores. While brands may scoff at the noisy design of these fashion marketplaces, it’s important to note that the Chinese everything apps have already won over some of the biggest names in fashion. If enough business is being done on these new platforms, every brand may have no choice but to join the chaos.

Sales force
The platforms (especially Shein and Temu) have loud, busy designs that are a mix of discount billboards, photos of varying quality, messy text, and lots and lots of products.

And that’s on purpose.

  • Chinese customers are used to the aesthetic because most of their shopping is done on everything apps that aggregate products across various brands and because these platforms don’t look as terrible on mobile (where most shopping is done).
  • The platforms are not built to be pretty to look at, but to sell as many products as possible, especially ones that can be designed quickly and sold cheaply — the keys to their success.
  • These forces put less emphasis on the typical brand website, which is more about communicating a brand vibe than actually selling products.

Surprisingly, younger shoppers may be down for this vibe shift anyway — Business of Fashion notes that the early-internet insanity of the Y2K era is coming back in vogue, and the hashtag “nonaesthetic” has been used 125 million times on TikTok.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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