In fashion: Chinese ecommerce on US shores

Dirt-cheap Chinese brands are deepening their focus on the US.

Selling things for cheap has long been a winning strategy for Chinese retailers.

Now, with inflation persisting, Chinese ecommerce companies are increasingly moving operations stateside to better serve their American patrons.

Leading the way…

… is Shein, a fast-fashion retailer that’s now the ninth most popular apparel brand among Gen Z women, per Morning Consult.

  • The company is on track for $24B in sales this year, and saw US sales grow 43% YoY in Q1. For comparison, H&M’s sales dropped 10%, per Bloomberg.

Shein is popular for its ultra-low-priced, trendy clothing. One caveat? Shipping from China means 10- to 15-day waits. Shein is now looking to reduce that number by setting up US distribution centers focused on basics and seasonal items.

  • Analysts question whether this will force Shein to raise prices, as bulk-shipping Chinese items will draw tariff charges and risk inventory challenges.

Shein has drawn criticism for its environmental impact and labor issues, including 18-hour workdays. With a larger US presence, criticism could grow.

Elsewhere…

… TikTok is hiring for dozens of roles to help build US fulfillment centers “from scratch.” The roles are based in Seattle — wink wink, Amazon.

Another app, Temu, recently became the most downloaded shopping app in the US, offering dirt-cheap prices on Chinese products.

A quick search on the app, and you’ll find sneakers, bike helmets, and sweaters for less than $10 each. No wonder its Chinese sibling, Pinduoduo, has 730m+ users.

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