The chilling truth behind the mysterious app Temu, that’s taking over the download charts of online shopping.

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Temu, a Boston-based, Chinese-owned shopping app that launched in the US in September 2022, has become the number one mobile download for both Apple and Android users in Canada since its February 2023 launch. However, some experts suggest that the Super Bowl ad slogan “shop like a billionaire” undercuts concerns about the quality of goods on the platform and encourages the purchase of items that may be cheap and disposable or even knockoffs. Almost everything on offer costs less than $10. In addition, users are encouraged to enjoy Temu’s game-like shopping experience, which features flash sales and chance-based games, although Assistant Professor of Operations Shreyas Sekar calls Temu’s referral marketing strategy a “borderline pyramid scheme”. Experts warn about the environmental impact of free shipping and returns. Also, it is feared the low prices on Temu will hurt local businesses, with Canada Research Chair Jackie Dawson cautioning consumers to use environmentally-friendly alternatives, buy in bulk, and seek local alternatives.

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