Chinese e-commerce site Temu surges among Israelis despite privacy concerns

The e-commerce website reached 4.76 million visits from Israel in January, surpassing its competitor SHEIN, and is already closely trailing the likes of AliExpress. However, analysts caution that the app contains software for collecting data on users, which it then sells: “This is why Temu allows itself to sell products at loss prices”

The Chinese e-commerce site Temu is capturing the hearts of Israelis, with a surge in monthly visits that has seen it already surpass popular competitor SHEIN. According to data from SimilarWeb, in September 2023, the number of Israelis visiting the Temu website stood at 275,000. In October, the number of visits doubled to 510,000. In November, amidst the intensification of the war in Gaza, there was a drop to 420,000, but in December, there was a significant leap to 3.47 million Israeli visits to the website.
The trend continued into 2024, with a 37% increase in January, reaching 4.76 million visits. The term "visits" refers to the number of visits to the site, so if a user visits the site multiple times, each visit is counted separately. The increase in Israeli visits to Temu is primarily driven by Google searches and the site's sponsored promotions. In December, the Google searches that led Israeli users to the Chinese site were mostly for winter goods such as electric blankets, scarves, and more.
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טימו Temu
טימו Temu
(Photo: CFOTO/Sipa USA via Reuters)
SimilarWeb data shows that Temu surpassed the Chinese site SHEIN in Israeli visits from July 2023 to January 2024. During this period, Temu had an average of 1.22 million visits from Israel, while SHEIN averaged 1.13 million visits. AliExpress remains the leading e-commerce site among Israelis, with 8.5 million visits during the same period. However, Temu is growing the fastest, and in terms of Israeli visits driven by Google promotion in December, it nearly equaled AliExpress.

The e-commerce platform Temu was founded in the United States in July 2022 and is operated by the Chinese company PDD Holdings. The app offers products in various categories at competitive prices, competing with AliExpress and Amazon, among others. According to "Financial Times'', new research estimated that Temu invested $3 billion in marketing and advertising in the United States last year in an attempt to gain market share from its major competitors, notably Amazon. $1.2 billion was spent on Facebook ads in 2023.
According to international data, Temu reported 70 million users in January 2024, compared to 13 million in January of the previous year. However, in terms of market share in online sales in the United States, it holds only 1%, while the online commerce giant Amazon holds 40% of the market.
Against the backdrop of Temu's increasing popularity, analysts in the United States warned that it is a dangerous application containing programs for collecting data on users and selling it. This, according to analysts, is the reason why it allows itself to sell products on the site at loss prices.
A class-action lawsuit has recently been filed against Temu in the United States, alleging that it collects users' data such as credit card details, bank details, social security numbers, and email addresses. Company customers have complained about credit card information theft, and according to reports, Temu sells many counterfeit products, especially in the electronics sector. It is also claimed that the quality of the products is low, and many customers never return to make additional purchases.