Temu is the latest attention-grabbing, disruptive brand to burst onto the scene. Offering consumers products at extremely low prices, Relative Insight wanted to conduct customer sentiment analysis to see whether consumers are buying into the brand hype, or have their suspicious that everything looks too good to be true.
The ecommerce site’s app is the number one shopping download in both the App Store and Play Store, and the company already estimated to be worth more than $100bn. Its tagline of “shop like a billionaire” and the super-low prices have attracted money-conscious consumers at a time of rising inflation.
After its US launch in October 2022, the platform has expanded to Europe — including the UK. Following the initial brand hype, the app must tailor its messaging to resonate with different audiences, or risk fading into obscurity. To demonstrate how audiences in across nations perceive brands differently, Relative Insight used a social listening tool to gather conversations about Temu from consumers in the US and the UK.
We uploaded each set of of conversations to our text analysis platform. The tool analyzes and quantifies the linguistic features (topics, words, phrases, grammar and emotion) most prominent in each text data set. This enabled us to conduct rigorous customer sentiment analysis into the app.
Relative Insight’s research highlights that its tactics have enraptured the US market, but haven’t resonated with Brits talking about the retailer online.
Understand what messaging works in different markets
Brits unconvinced by Temu brand hype so far
People in the UK are skeptical about the brand hype accompanying Temu. In fact, the ubiquity of ads promoting the retailer is a deterrent, rather than attracting consumers. They were 8.4x more likely to complain that they were being ‘bombarded’ with ads and discussed ‘blocking’ spam 2.5x more.
“I’m having same problem with ads on all my SM accs especially from Shein and Temu. I’ve never ordered from any of these yet b/c my friend sent me a link trying to get me to buy and download I’m being bombarded with emails and links now 🤬. Block block block!“
Brits’ customer sentiment around Temu’s products is also filled with skepticism. They were 3.9x more likely to use words related to ‘profligacy’. This included words such as ‘pointless’, ‘useless’ and ‘worthless’. People in the UK also used the word ‘tat’ 61.4x more and ‘shite’ 84.4x more — highlighted their doubts about product quality.
“I sincerely believe this Temu website to be truly evil. It has sprung up out of nowhere to sell the most useless tat for really questionably little money. Satanic.“
It wasn’t just quality that concerned Brits. They also discussed products’ sustainability — specifically the lack of it. UK tweeters were 2.9x more likely to use words related to the topic of ‘environmentalism’, such as ‘eco’, ‘pollution’, ‘recycle’ and ‘environment’.
They were infinitely more likely to use the word ‘sustainable’ (meaning this didn’t appear in Americans’ conversations) and highlighted ‘plastic’ 6.1x more. British consumers are concerned about Temu’s impact on the planet, and are reticent about buying from an ecommerce site selling unsustainable goods.
“You’re buying directly from manufacturer and they’re the storefront that allows you to do so. There is nothing sustainable about it. The sustainability angle they’re trying to push isn’t rooted in facts.“
Americans embrace Temu as a disruptive brand
Relative Insight’s customer sentiment analysis found that Americans had much greater enthusiasm for Temu. They were infinitely more likely to describe the platform as ‘addictive’ and used the phrase ‘Temu got’ 5.3x more. Customers said the app had got them in a “chokehold”, highlighting their addiction to it.
“Temu got me in a chokehold! 🤦🏽 ♀. I literally have 3 more orders on the way 🤣.”
In contrast to Brits, Americans view the brand’s ads as a sign it should be taken seriously. In particular, its decision to buy a Super Bowl commercial proved its legitimacy to US audiences — they used the word ‘legit’ 4.2x more within this context.
“Temu got a Super Bowl commercial? Guess it’s okay to order from them, I been scared 😩.”
US consumers also discussed their ordering process. They referenced their ‘carts’ 5.6x more than Brits. Analyzing tweets containing the word, it’s clear that these users almost mindlessly scroll and add items to their shopping carts, before deciding whether to go through with their purchase.
“Anyone scrolling on Temu? Lol I need to get off it bc I wasted half my day looking through it. Added things to my cart only to convince myself I don’t need it. I didn’t buy anything yet but those prices are tempting 😝.”
Among the brand hype, US customers saw real value in particular items of clothing: shoes and sneakers. They were 2.5x more likely to discuss ‘footwear’ generally, including ‘boots’, ‘heels’ and ‘sneakers’, while mentioning ‘shoes’ specifically 4.7x more. Americans expressed their delight at how many pairs they could buy at low prices.
“When I tell y’all one of my shoe purchases literally look like designer $1000+ shoes, y’all mouths going drop when y’all see what these shoes look like & the price I paid for them.“
Customer sentiment analysis highlights variation in UK and US consumers
Relative Insight’s customer sentiment analysis illustrates how different audiences have varied attitudes to brand hype. Disruptive brands need to be aware of this and tailor their messaging, rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all approach.
The UK is Temu’s second-largest market by downloads, however, the brand has work to do to improve customer sentiment with this audience. Although its ad campaign has given it visibility, it seems to be annoying potential customers and toning this down will improve perception of Temu. British consumers are suspicious of the hype around the brand. Rather than focusing on pricing and offers, Temu’s messaging to Brits needs to focus on proving sustainability and product quality.
In contrast, the retailer has got its tactics spot on for a US audience. They see its ubiquitous ad campaigns and commercials as a sign this disruptive brand is a major player in the market. To deliver even more traction with Americans, the brand should alter its messaging to reference about submitting shopping carts, as well as focusing any promotions on footwear and shoes.
Do you need to understand audiences in different markets? Analyzing the differences in how they talk will unlock resonant messaging. Try Relative Insight’s text analytics software for free to discover how to best tailor your communication.