China’s Shein may be the biggest shopping website you’ve never heard of.
The fast-fashion player is encroaching on the territory of more established rivals like Zara and H&M. It has become the largest purely online fashion company in the world measured by sales of self-branded products, according to market research company Euromonitor.
Nanjing-based Shein, founded in 2008, is aiming squarely at the “Gen Z” social-media generation (those born in 1995 and afterwards), using influencers on Instagram and TikTok, and discount codes, to attract younger shoppers in an increasingly crowded fashion market.
It offers low-cost styles, and uploads hundreds of new designs to its app every week. The price for a dress is around half that of Zara, according to a recent survey by financial services company Societe Generale.
“You can save money, which is important when buying clothes as the fashions change so quickly,” said Rebeca Rondon, a 23-year-old student in Valencia, Spain, whose Instagram page compares dozens of styles from Shein and Zara head-to-head.