This China-based online megastore is growing in Australia. It’s also hungry for your data
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
Online budget retail megastore Temu is tipped to accelerate its reach in Australia this festive season as shoppers hunt for bargains, but cybersecurity experts have warned that users should be aware of how much personal data they are sharing with the platform.
Temu, owned by Chinese e-commerce company PDD Holdings, has experienced huge global growth since launching last year. It has attracted fans in Australia and around the world thanks to its ultra-low prices on a huge range of products, its short-term sales offers and gamified promotions that reward shoppers for engaging with the app.
Temu entices shoppers with flash sale deals, gamified offers and low prices on a broad range of homewares. Credit: Bloomberg
The company burst onto the online retail scene with the tagline “Shop Like a Billionaire” and offers everything from lip gloss to headphones to kitchen appliances at super-low prices, often lower than $5 each.
Dr Shasha Wang, a senior lecturer in the school of advertising, marketing and public relations at Queensland University of Technology, said Temu’s offer matched the mood of Australian shoppers right now, given global inflation and cost-of-living pressures mean consumers want their dollars to go further.
“I don’t know whether it was planning, or good luck [from Temu], but this environment produces a very good opportunity,” Wang said.
An Ipsos poll from July suggests Temu, which launched in Australia in April, had the fastest-growing online audience among Australian retailers earlier this year, reaching 9.2 million Australians in the month of June. At that time, it had the eighth-largest retail audience in the country, beating the reach of Bunnings.
Australians have been flocking to discount stores this year for products such as homewares, cosmetics and clothing in the face of rising interest rates and inflation. Temu’s rise could prove a competitive threat to businesses like Kmart, though Wang notes that pure-play online businesses have the most to lose from Temu’s increasing popularity.
“It becomes a strong competitor for other e-commerce platforms.”
Kmart, Target and Amazon were contacted about Temu’s growth in Australia but did not provide comment.
However, Temu has also attracted scrutiny globally over the past few months over the types of user data it collects from shoppers, particularly through its app.
RMIT University academics sounded a warning for Australian consumers on the issue last week, noting that the company may collect information through users’ social media profiles.
Temu’s business partners may capture “information about us, our computer or device, and location data (if you haven’t disabled location sharing settings),” RMIT cybersecurity expert Dr Arathi Arakala said.
In a statement, Temu said it prioritised the protection of privacy and was transparent about its data practices.
“We collect information with a clear and singular purpose: to provide and continually enhance our products and services for our users,” the company said.
The company highlighted that the Apple App store details information that may be linked to users, including purchases, user content and search history, and noted “the data we gather reflects common industry practice”.
“In line with our commitment to full transparency, every single user can also view the permissions that Temu seeks on the website or app under ‘Settings,’ ” the company said.
Cybersecurity expert Professor Asha Rao from RMIT’s School of Science said many users were not aware of what data was being collected when they used apps such as Temu.
“If you log in using a social media account – via Google, Facebook or something else, they have got much more information,” she said. “I don’t think users pay enough attention to what they are doing.”
Arakala recommended shoppers turn off location sharing when using apps such as Temu, avoid logging in through personal social media accounts, delete cookies and history after using the platform and set up a dedicated email address for online shopping.
The Business Briefing newsletter delivers major stories, exclusive coverage and expert opinion. Sign up to get it every weekday morning.
Most Viewed in Business
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article