2.5 minutes

In the year since Temu's Super Bowl debut, the app has become a top retail destination and surpassed rival Shein in sales.

Growing ecommerce app Temu spent big on Super Bowl commercials this year. 

The Chinese app bought air time for three commercials during the game and two after. Super Bowl advertising is some of the most expensive of the year. For Super Bowl LVIII, advertisers paid between $6.5 million and $7 million for a 30-second commercial, CNN reported. Individual rates vary, however, depending on when an ad airs during the game and if an individual advertiser purchases multiple commercial spots. A Temu spokesperson declined to comment on how much the retailer spent.

Temu’s Super Bowl commercial featured the tagline “Shop like a billionaire.” In it, the animated protagonist buys a variety of household and apparel products priced under $10. The purchases are a sampling of the low-cost products Temu has become known for. The retailer also partnered with San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey to promote $5 million in coupons and credits on Instagram ahead of the game, and an additional $10 million during the game, the spokesperson said.

PDD Holdings owns Temu, which launched in 2022 and isn’t yet reflected in Digital Commerce 360 rankings of the largest online retailers. PDD also owns Pinduoduo, which operates an app-only marketplace for Chinese consumers. Because it doesn’t operate an ecommerce website, Pinduoduo is not included in Digital Commerce 360’s Asia Database.


Rise of Temu and its Super Bowl ad buys

Temu first gained the spotlight one year ago during the Super Bowl in 2023. 

Last year, the retailer bought two Super Bowl commercials, its first introduction to many U.S. consumers. PDD had launched Temu just a few months earlier, in September 2022.

“Through the largest stage possible, we want to share with our consumers that they can shop with a sense of freedom because of the price we offer,” PDD said in a statement at the time.

That strategy seems to be working. Temu was the most downloaded app in the U.S. in 2023, and the eighth-most downloaded app in the world, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. The retailer reached 51 million monthly active users in January, a nearly 300% year-over-year increase.


In May, Temu surpassed rival Shein’s monthly U.S. sales for the first time. In September, a report from Earnest Analytics found that Temu is taking market share from Dollar General and Dollar Tree. Temu is now the No. 4 most-visited retail website in the U.S., behind only Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, The Wall Street Journal reported based on Insider Intelligence research.

Shein Group Ltd. is No. 36 in the Asia Database. Dollar General ranks No. 725 in the 2023 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000. The Top 1000 is a ranking of North America’s leading retailers by online sales. Amazon ranks No. 1, and Walmart ranks No. 2.

Temu’s ad strategy

Temu is spending heavily on advertising, prioritizing customer acquisition. The retailer outspent all advertisers except Amazon on Facebook in Q4 of 2023, Sensor Tower said. Temu grew its ad spending on Facebook 318%, and spending on Instagram grew 101%  year over year in the quarter, the firm said. 

J.P. Morgan estimates Temu will spend $3 billion on marketing in 2024.


Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect Temu’s ownership. PDD Holdings owns Temu, as well as its sister company Pinduoduo.

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