Fast fashion retailer Shein made headlines earlier this week with a reported $1B capital raise at a staggering $100B valuation. But is success a shoo-in for Shein? In today’s Insight Flash, we examine how Shein’s market share has evolved in the US and UK, what the average basket looks like versus competitors, and whether return customer behavior signals staying power.
Shein has grown quickly to become one of the most popular Fast Fashion brands in the US and the UK. Pre-pandemic market share for the Shein brand alone in 4Q19 was only 7% of tracked spend in the US and 3% in the UK. Two years later, share was up to 25% in the US and 10% in the UK for 4Q21. Share seems to be growing even further QTD, to 33% of total US tracked Fast Fashion spend and 16% of total tracked UK Fast Fashion Spend.
Although fast fashion items are usually known for being cheap, if shoppers buy a lot at low price points they drive up their overall basket. Among the top five competitors in the space, Shein’s average basket is behind only Zara’s on both sides of the Atlantic. Interestingly enough, it is right at the average for the subindustry in both geographies as well, demonstrating it may just hit a pricing sweet spot.
One feature of fast fashion that disappoints many shoppers is that the low price points are often supported by low quality items that fall apart quickly. Indeed, quarterly spend from US shoppers who first bought an item from Wish in 2020 had dropped by over 90% a year later. However, Shein seems to be doing a much better job at satisfying its customers. Although only 31% of spend returned in the first quarter after a customer’s first visit, that return rate has been increasing over time. 35% of spend repeated four quarters later, and 45% repeated seven quarters later. With that kind of trajectory, the company will be able to continue to grow spend from existing customers, possibly portending a bright future for Shein!