The Chinese ready-to-wear site Shein, a darling of young people in France

Parents of teenagers know Shein inside out. Because the Chinese site – its name is the contraction of She Inside, literally “she inside”, in French – has imposed itself on the smartphones of their grandchildren in just a few years in our country.

“It is the first place to buy clothing for 15-24 year olds in France”, says Hélène Janicaud, head of studies at Kantar. On average, they bought about ten items there between October 2020 and October 2021, according to this panelist. All for an average price of 7.90 euros. In total, Shein managed to capture nearly 80 euros of their clothing budget, twice as much as in 2019.

This rise in power complicates the activity of H&M stores, the fallen star of low-cost fashion in France. The Shein site now takes 6.2% of purchasing volumes for under 24s, ahead of the Swedish brand (5.7%), according to Kantar.

The Chinese site has a mantra: “Everyone can enjoy the beauty of fashion”, and he makes it known with the help of major influencer campaigns, notably on the social network TikTok. Almost 20% of its audience comes from advertising, according to SimilarWeb, an online data analysis platform. In May 2019, 3.2 million people viewed its website and application, according to Médiamétrie. Two years later, in May 2021, they were 11 million. The year 2021 ended with a record: according to the first data from SimilarWeb, Shein has accumulated nearly 110 million visits.

Pop-up shops

Because his photos of tight dresses at 12 euros or leggings at 4.99 euros are click machines, which attract Internet users like the light loving mosquitoes during the night. On average, those who browse Shein make 2.5 visits per month and scroll through content for ten minutes, compared to around six minutes on average in the industry, according to SimilarWeb.

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Shein’s ambition is greater. The site operated pop-up stores to convert in-store shoppers to online shopping. This was particularly the case at the end of 2019, in the center of Saint-Lazare station, one of the busiest in Paris. Since the summer of 2020, it has also been developing a range of clothing that it presents as “premium”. Under the MOTF name, this collection includes corduroy pants and viscose blouses. Everything is less than 50 euros. “Superior quality at no additional cost”, assures Emily Guan, general manager of Shein France, in a press release, believing that this collection “Offers new growth opportunities in France”.

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