Investors analyzing trends in the market got plenty of insights from this year’s Super Bowl commercials. One key takeaway was Temu’s significant investment in U.S. advertising, which highlights the ongoing competitive pressures faced by other retailers.
Temu, known for its budget-friendly approach, dominated the advertising landscape on Sunday night with multiple ad slots promoting its “shop like a billionaire” slogan. This marked the second consecutive year that the Chinese company spent millions on Super Bowl ads—an unusual move for a non-U.S. brand. However, for Temu, which is owned by PDD, the operator of Pinduoduo, a major rival to Alibaba in China, this is simply part of their strategy.
Since its launch in 2022, Temu has significantly increased its advertising efforts in the U.S. Last quarter, it was the second-highest spender on Meta’s Facebook, trailing only behind Amazon.com. Sensor Tower and J.P. Morgan research suggests that Temu is on track to invest $3 billion in marketing this year—a substantial amount.
The results of this aggressive marketing approach are starting to show. According to Earnest Analytics, Temu experienced the highest year-over-year holiday sales growth among all U.S. retailers, although this growth was built upon a relatively small base in 2022.
Temu’s success has not gone unnoticed by both its rivals and industry analysts. Brick-and-mortar budget retailers like Dollar General are now facing stiff competition, not only from Amazon but also from Temu. However, analysts differ in their opinions on how much pressure Temu will actually exert on Amazon. Deutsche Bank’s Lee Horowitz expressed that Amazon’s latest outlook somewhat alleviated concerns about competition from Temu, as indicated in a note. Nonetheless, Temu’s Super Bowl advertising will unquestionably keep its rivals on high alert.
For U.S. retailers keen on understanding the threat posed by Temu, they need not look any further than China. In the past year, Pinduoduo, owned by PDD, has experienced extraordinary growth as consumers flocked to its platform for cheaper alternatives during an economic slowdown. In fact, PDD has overtaken Alibaba as the most valuable e-commerce company in China, a symbolic feat.
Clearly, PDD is doing something right—it’s stock has risen by an impressive one-third over the past year, and it continues to maintain its upwards trajectory. Temu’s Super Bowl advertisement is just another example of their determined efforts to come out on top.