Has Shein reinvented teen e-tailing?
Shein, the mysterious Chinese fast-fashion e-tailer known for its “haul” videos on social media, has seemingly overnight become a leading fashion e-tailer among U.S. teens.
According to Piper Sandler’s Fall 2020 “Taking Stock With Teens” survey, the Gen-Z retailer ranked as the second favorite e-commerce site among upper-income teens, second only to the dominant player, Amazon.com. Shein ranked first among brands upper-income female teens are starting to wear, followed by PacSun and Lululemon.
Among the site’s attributes pointed out in coverage:
- Affordability: Shein is best known for a wide range of its trendy juniors apparel priced significantly below competitors. Purchases are incentivized by a steady stream of coupons and discount codes.
- Inclusive: According to a recent study from Flawless.org, 37.2 percent of Shein’s online items are available from XL to 4XL, significantly larger than competitors such as Urban Outfitters and Boohoo.
- Newness: Shein says in its press statement that it drops “1000 fashion items daily, spoiling our customers with a dizzying selection of on-trend womenswear that they can mix and match to their heart’s delight.”
- Online ambassadors: Shein has focused on recruiting smaller rather than more-costly larger influencers to create an army of fashion bloggers endorsing the brand online and drawing 14.1 million Instagram followers. Some influencers are compensated with monthly deliveries of free product for their posts on Instagram, Youtube or TikTok. Others earn a 10 to 20 percent commission on referred sales to Shein.com, well above average affiliate rates.
The knock on Shein is transparency. Little is known about the company, leading to wide speculation over how it churns out its inexpensive and trendy offerings. A source told Reuters Shein aims for a design-to-production turnaround time of three days, well below the three-week turnaround of Inditex, the parent of Zara. A Telegraph article speculated that Shein likely sources straight on demand from factories in China and may be capitalizing on trade agreements to keep prices low. The site doesn’t sell in China.
Quality and delivery can be spotty, according to some reports. Jess Sims, a freelance writer, wrote on stylecaster.com, “If 1,000 new items a day seems too good to be true, there’s probably a catch.”
- Shein – website
- Taking Stock With Teens – Piper Sandler
- Teens are obsessed with Shein, a Chinese fast-fashion retailer that has more than 13 million Instagram followers and no store footprint – Business Insider
- Welcome To The Dark Side: Why Shein Might Be The Biggest Rip-Off Since Fast Fashion Was Born – Euronews
- How Shein deployed an army of TikTok influencers to lure British teens – The Telegraph
- Global Online Retailer SHEIN Announces Groundbreaking Virtual Fashion Show To Dress For Success – Shein/PRNewswire
- Shein’s Swastika Necklace Scandal Probably Won’t Topple Fast Fashion. Here’s Why – Stylecaster
- China’s turbo-charged online fashion takes on Zara and H&M – Reuters
- Why Is Online Retailer SHEIN So Suspiciously Cheap? We Have an Explanation – Distractify
- Inclusive sizing: Which retail brands are plus-size friendly? – Fashion United
- Chinese retailer Shein finds favour with American teens – Warc
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think are the most important factors driving Shein’s rapid growth in the U.S. teen clothing marketplace? Do you think a lack of transparency will negatively affect its appeal going forward?