Chinese fast-fashion retailer Shein has emerged as the second favourite e-commerce site for American teenagers, according to a new report by Piper Sandler.

While Amazon has a large lead, with 54% of teens from upper-income households stating that it was their favourite e-commerce site, versus 5% for Shein — the Chinese retailer beat out American mainstays like Nike, PacSun, and Urban Outfitters.

It was also first on the list of the brands that upper-income female teens said they're starting to wear, followed by PacSun and Lululemon.

The brand, which was founded in Nanjing, eastern China, in 2008 has about 13.8 million followers on Instagram, where it typically reposts photos from influencers wearing its latest styles. It is known for its trendy items and rock-bottom prices, with women’s tees priced as low as US$6 and dresses for as little as US$12. In addition, it doesn’t operate any permanent physical stores and instead hosts a series of pop-ups in various cities.

The company ships to more than 200 regions around the world, but its primary focus is Europe, America, Australia and the Middle East. Its revenues topped US$2.83 billion in 2019, according to a WeChat post by the company. Its rivals include fast-fashion e-commerce sites Fashion Nova, Boohoo and Missguided. It was one of the 59 Chinese apps banned by the Indian government earlier in the year, alongside other popular apps such as TikTok.

Other key findings from the Piper Sandler’s “Taking Stock With Teens” report include:

  • Teens “self-reported” spending at an all-time survey low of US$2,150, down 5% sequentially and 9% year on year
  • Cosmetics spending for females down 20% year on year; skincare for females down 3%; skincare for males up 12%
  • Secondhand represents 8% of shopping time allocation, taking share from off-price, speciality & department stores
  • Ulta remains the No. 1 beauty destination with 42% share (+400 bps year on year); Target gained share while Amazon stays in the top five
  • Louis Vuitton unseats Michael Kors for No. 1 spot as the preferred handbag; Coach gained share
  • 86% of teens own an iPhone and 89% expect an iPhone to be their next phone, both all-time survey highs
  • Snapchat is the favourite social media platform; Instagram fell from No. 2 to No. 3 as TikTok moved up to No. 2
  • Top-of-mind social/political issues include: Racial Equality/Black Lives Matter, Environment & 2020 Election
  • 18% of teens consume plant-based meat with Impossible Foods as the No. 1 choice
  • Video games is 10% of total teen wallet share, a new survey high; and 63% expect to purchase a NextGen console
  • Teens spend 34% of their daily video consumption on Netflix (gained share) followed by YouTube

The report surveyed 9,800 teens with an average age of 15.8 across 48 states. The average household income of respondents was US$67,500.

Sourced from South China Morning Post, Piper Sandler, Republic World