Now all want to be the next Shein, the $15 billion Chinese fast fashion retailer that has successfully tapped into the overseas Gen Z market by making hot clothes at ultra-low prices. The company is already seen as a model of successful cross-border e-commerce after overtaking Zara and H&M to become the top-selling fast-fashion retailer in the US earlier last year. The company downloaded more apps than Amazon in the U.S. last July. The US fast fashion market grew by 15% between January and mid-June 2021. According to the report, Shein grew by nearly 160% over the same time period.
Fast fashion brands direct overseas Gen Z and millennial shoppers to their independent e-commerce sites, mainly targeting feeds of young female users, primarily through ads on Instagram. On YouTube and TikTok, hundreds of influencers have posted shopping content, with each video featuring anywhere from 10 to 20 items from those brands. Zaful is a swimwear brand and one of the biggest, with over 5 million followers on its main Instagram account and thousands of followers each on several of its country/region-specific accounts, including Russia and Australia.
The Internet industry's honeymoon is coming to an end. As growth fades, people have to move into industries and digitise the real economy, and China's production capacity can support world-class products. More and more Chinese manufacturers are shifting from wholesale trade to direct sales to consumers around the world. Hordes of new companies have affordable prices and rely on social media influencers for marketing. Companies like this attracted at least $300 million in investment in 2021, according to deals reported in the media. Modeled on Shein's data and algorithm-driven supply chain, many similar companies can typically go from design to delivery in seven days, according to media reports.