China’s Shein Competes Zara and H&M Online Sales of Fashion Clothes

China-based fashion clothes manufacturer, Shein has emerged as a powerful competitor for other fast-fashion giants such as Spanish clothing-retail company Inditex-owned Zara SA (Zara) and Swedish H&M since the online sales of Shein products had increased due to the pandemic. Founded in 2008, the Nanjing-based company has been increasingly popular mainly among young girls due to its affordable price and quality products. The online shopping platform has linked up with Amazon.com Inc. and is using social-media with offering discounts codes on Instagram and TikTok to attract younger fashion-loving people.

According to a recent Societe Generale price survey, Shein attracted the attention of the youngsters by providing low-cost styles and uploading hundreds of new designs to its app every week. The survey told that Shein’s products were nearly half the price of Zara.

However, Shein has limited visibility in the retail market as compared to Zara and H&M despite having remarkable performance over the years. Unlike Zara and H&M, the Chinese clothing brand has not provided detailed information regarding the sourcing of their clothing, the working conditions of employees, annual reports, and the manufacture of its products on its websites.

Shein’s Growing Popularity

As per the report by Euromonitor, the 12-year-old fast-fashion player has become one of the world’s largest online platforms for fashion clothing and witnessed a surge in its popularity of self-branded products. According to analytics platform App Annie, Shein became the most downloaded shopping app globally on iPhones in the week of September 27-October 3 and ranked in the top 10 most downloaded apps in the United States, Brazil, Australia, Britain, and Saudi Arabia.

Sensor Tower data shows that the Shein app was downloaded more than 10 million globally from across the App Store and Google Play in September while H&M’s mobile app had about 2.5 million downloads and Zara with 2 million downloads. The data further shows that the download of the Shein app has reached 229.4 million downloads as compared to H&M’s 123.5 million and Zara’s 90.6 million.

Shein, which does not provide information on its sales revenue and financial positions, has a group of major investors including IDG Capital and Sequoia Capital China, according to PitchBook capital market data. Meanwhile, the company did not respond to emails or phone calls.

Shein’s Ambassadors on Instagram

The company witnessed significant growth, offering discount coupons and other promotional activities, with the help of various young teens of Instagram users displaying its variance of products. Nonetheless, it is currently facing tough competition since many rivals have reported a surge in sales due to the Pandemic.

Rebeca Rondon, a 23-year-old student from Spain, said “You can save money, which is important when buying clothes as the fashions change so quickly,” referring to the affordable prices of Shein products. She has a large number of followers as her Instagram page is popular for comparing dozens of styles from Shein and Zara head-to-head.

Another Instagram user, a 22-year-old student at the University of South Carolina Upstate, Laura Illanes says, “I have to promote the outfits on my social media platforms,” adding that “They provide me with a discount code of 15% off – I need to share that with my followers.” Illanes, a college athlete with 36,000 Instagram followers, gets six free Shein items per month in return for promoting the clothes on her account.