Temu vs AliExpress: What is the difference, and which one is better? Did the ads from Temu and Aliexpress catch your eye and wonder which marketplace is best for shopping? You are not the only one. To help you decide between Temu and Aliexpress, I did intense research and brought you expert insight to clarify all your questions regarding these shopping apps. So get ready to discover the differences between Temu and Aliexpress so you can come to a conclusion by the end of this page!
Temu and Aliexpress are probably the biggest players in the world of online shopping today. Statistically, about 70% of those who shop online regularly say that marketplace platforms like Temu and Aliexpress are the most convenient and secure way to shop online today.
The main distinctive feature and probably the advantage of multi-merchant marketplaces over mono-brand e-commerce sites is the fact that eBay, Amazon, Temu, and Aliexpress offer more than a convenient shopping experience. They became product discovery hubs that brought the excitement of good old mall window shopping to the modern digital experience.
If Amazon, eBay, and even Alexpress were on the market long before online shopping became mainstream, Temu still seems to be a dark horse, especially for shoppers from the United States and Europe. However, this relatively new marketplace seems to be gaining popularity so rapidly with its Super Bowl campaign and viral social media postings that we just have to acknowledge this new phenomenon in the e-commerce industry.
Temu vs AliExpress: What is the difference and which one is better?
In this article, we shall compare Temu and Alexpress, as these popular marketplaces definitely share DNA and have much more in common than you may assume at first sight. That is why it will be even more interesting to see what the difference is between the two e-commerce giants.
Let`s take a look at the background and business models of Aliexpress and Temu and compare their product range, pricing, and customer service policies to hopefully help you make an informed decision and avoid money loss and disappointment once you decide to shop at one of the popular marketplaces today.
Why do we love marketplaces so much?
Before starting to compare the two most popular marketplaces, let`s try to understand what makes them so attractive to online shoppers in general. As we have already mentioned, shopping at a marketplace can be compared to visiting an enormous mall where everyone can find something they like, while visiting a mono-brand website is a much more focused experience.
We live in a dynamic world where no one seems to have time for anything. Mainly, that is why we appreciate so much the fact that marketplaces allow us to do holiday gift shopping for the whole family or get everything we may need for an upcoming vacation or a newborn baby at the same place.
Marketplaces also became a great way for entrepreneurs to start their businesses and reach out to a wide international audience. Today, creators of all kinds sell their unique designs through Etsy, and collectors know that eBay is the place for a treasure hunt.
But, of course, marketplaces have their disadvantages as well. The main one is probably the fact that, when buying through a multi-merchant marketplace, you don`t really know who you are dealing with. If you had a great experience once, it does not mean that next time you will be satisfied with the quality of your purchase, since it may come from a different seller, warehouse, manufacturer, etc.
While international marketplaces like eBay, AliExpress, Amazon, and such do their best to introduce strict policies and demands towards sellers and make your shopping experience as smooth as possible, the beauty and cure of marketplaces is exactly the fact that they are open to everyone, and that is why it is next to impossible to check every product and merchant that you can stumble upon there.
Temu and Aliexpress are both Chinese marketplaces, although Temu continues to insist that it is a US-based company. That is why it may be even harder for an American or European shopper to seek justice and get a refund if they are not satisfied with their purchase. For the very same reason, shipment will take much longer, and the return process can be much more complex than in the case of Amazon Prime.
But the prices that you see both on Temu and Aliexpress websites and apps can make anyone forget all the risks and inconveniences for the sake of the enormous savings that they promise. So, what is the difference between Temu and Aliexpress, and is there any difference at all?
Aliexpress vs. Temu: company backgrounds and business models
What is Aliexpress?
Aliexpress is an online marketplace based in China and owned by an e-commerce mogul called Alibaba Group Holding Limited, or Alibaba for short.
For those of you who don`t know, Alibaba is an enormous multinational technology company that specializes in e-commerce, retail, and technology and is based in China. Originally, the main purpose of Alibaba was to help Chinese companies enter international markets and seek customers overseas by selling wholesale. With time, Alibaba grew into a developed digital ecosystem. You might want to check this page where I compared Temu and Alibaba.
Aliexpress was launched in 2010 as an attempt to sell not only to businesses but also to consumers worldwide. However, today Aliexpress offers all sorts of transactions, such as B2C, wholesale B2B deals, and even C2C sales.
One of the main distinctive features of Aliexpress is the way the marketplace creates internal competition by offering sellers a promotion policy that boosts products and shops with the highest average rate, the most positive feedback, and the highest customer service response rate. The sometimes shockingly low prices are a result of direct collaboration between a marketplace and wholesalers or manufacturers.
What is Temu?
Temu is probably the youngest marketplace today. The more fascinating is its success story. Launched only in July 2022, Temu took over social media and every other advertising platform you can think of within several months, becoming one of the most recognizable brands and the most downloaded shopping app in the United States.
Just like Aliexpress, Temu is also owned by a Chinese multinational commerce group called PDD Group. Before launching Temu, the company was mainly famous for selling agriculture equipment and appliances wholesale worldwide.
Nevertheless, Temu claims to be a US-based company with headquarters in Boston. It is a pretty common “image” move for Asian brands that want to attract American and European customers who may be reluctant to buy from Chinese merchants.
One of the main differences between Aliexpress and Temu is probably the fact that the letter does not deal with sellers but sources products directly from Chinese manufacturers. Later on, we shall discuss how this slightly different business model affects the end customers and their shopping experience with Temu.
As you see, Aliexpress and Temu have a lot in common. Once you visit their websites or download their apps, you will instantly notice that both marketplaces have the same style of showcasing the products, and even the images are often the same.
Another common trait of Aliexpress and Temu that won`t skip your eye is how “playful” both marketplaces are. Here, you will stumble upon all sorts of spinwheels, small games that allow you to collect coins and exchange them for discount coupons, lotteries, and prizes. That is how both marketplaces are doing their best to keep you engaged. And judging from how popular they both are, it works!
So, what is the actual difference between Aliexpress and Temu? Let`s go over the main parameters that you will probably consider when choosing between two seemingly similar brands and see whether, except for the competing owners, there are any distinctive differences between the popular marketplaces at all.
Temu vs. AliExpress face-off
When checking out a new online store, you will probably pay attention to the quality of products and customer reviews, as well as their pricing, shipment, and return policies. That is why we chose these parameters to compare Temu and Aliexpress.
At the end of the day, not many people will care which multinational company gets their money as long as they receive exactly what they expected in a reasonable time, saving a buck or two along the way.
Products and showcase
Both marketplaces boast enormous inventories. AliExpress alone claims to offer over 100 million different products. Temu definitely does not fall behind. Judging from similar or sometimes even identical pictures, you understand that both marketplaces often share merchants and source their products from the same manufacturers.
However, there is a slight difference in how Temu and Aliexpress showcase their inventories. Following the concept of pretending to be an American-based company, Temu seems to mimic Amazon in the way they reach out to their customers. Temu is a much more frequent guest on influencers` profiles and “aesthetics” boards we all browse and save on Pinterest.
In other words, Aliexpress seems to emphasize the product itself, while Temu mainly draws our attention to the aesthetics and lifestyle aspects of every item they sell.
But if you put social media marketing aside and only analyze the inventory of two Chinese marketplaces, you will notice that they often place the same images, which often turn out to be stolen from the same sources. It is mainly done because both Temu and Aliexpress demand high-quality product images from their merchants but don`t insist on unique and original content.
In other words, there is a strong chance that Aliexpress and Temu sell products from the same manufacturers and warehouses, but considering how many of them are out there and how complex the Chinese retail networks are, there is a very low chance that by buying two products with the same images from different marketplaces, you will receive identical items.
Prices and discounts
Let`s face it, the main reason we buy from Aliexpress and Temu is the fact that Chinese marketplaces offer remarkably low prices. But how do they do it? We all know that it is hardly fair to sell on the modern market a product that was not “Made in China”. Recently, you may also see a label “Made in PRC”, which may give you the impression that the product is not China-made. However, the PRC is the People’s Republic of China.
The new label was invented simply to overcome the growing stigma about Chinese products and manufacturers, which are known for their less-than-perfect quality.
They say that Aliexpress and Temu manage to offer such unparalleled prices simply because they sell products directly from Chinese manufacturers, cutting off the middleman. It is not entirely true. While Temu does work directly with manufacturers and warehouses, Aliexpress still sticks to Alibaba`s original concept, trying to help Chinese entrepreneurs reach out to international markets. In other words, in the case of AliExpress, the middleman is not cut off entirely.
The marketplace charges about 5% of every deal, which is how the company makes money. However, customers don`t really see the difference in pricing when they compare the two marketplaces, mainly because Aliexpress creates a pretty harsh competition between sellers, forcing them to offer more discount coupons and deals, attracting more customers.
The bottom line is that prices on Temu and Aliexpress are generally the same, but if you enjoy that warm, fussy feeling of finding another bargain of a century or receiving a discount or free shipping when you spend just over $10, Aliexpress is probably a place for you.
Shipping and returns
Slow shipping is usually the main reason people are reluctant to shop for Chinese brands. But when it comes to the enormous savings that both Temu and Alexpress promise their customers, waiting for your $1 batch of socks for several weeks does not seem to be that horrible.
Recently, Temu and Aliexpress seem to focus mainly on the shipping issue and offer new policies and a wider range of shopping options. Most products from Aliexpress can be delivered to your door within 15 days if you spend just over $10.
The vast logistics network of the marketplace allows for the combination of items bought from different sellers and makes the delivery process even more convenient. As a result, European customers usually get their AliExpress hauls after about 10 days, and American shoppers normally don`t have to wait for more than 12–15 days. If the shipment is delayed, you are supposed to receive a $1 store credit that you can spend as you wish.
However, there is a catch. Aliexpress normally allows its sellers 7 days to arrange the shipment. This time is not included in the shipment timing. Unfortunately, some sellers tend to pull until the very last moment. Therefore, it is still impossible to say for sure when your package will arrive. Good news! All ships are tracked.
Temu is a bit more zealous when it comes to shipment. Since the company deals with all the logistics on its own, the packages are usually shipped on time, 24 hours after you place your order.
This platform also offers an express shipment option for $13. But according to numerous reports from disappointed customers, the fact that you pay some extra money does not really influence how fast you receive the package. On the bright side, Temu also provides a real-time tracking feature, and promises store credit in case your shipment is delayed or the package is lost on the way.
As for return policies, it seems like both Temu and Aliexpress don`t really count on the fact that someone would really bother to return any of the goods, even if they are not satisfied with their quality. Both marketplaces make refunds almost instantly. However, while Aliexpress usually sends your money back through the payment option that you used for the purchase, Temu customers often “enjoy” store credit, which basically means that the marketplace still keeps the money.
The difference between customer service at Temu and Aliexpress is another example of how the two marketplaces have slightly different business models.
Temu does everything on its own, which means that if a customer is not satisfied with the product, the marketplace does not really have an “escape goat” and has to deal with the responsibility. That is why Temu is usually known for its pretty responsive customer service, which often offers several options to resolve any issue.
While the marketplace has an average 3-star rating on various feedback platforms, customers are mainly concerned with the quality of products, but they admit that the marketplace is pretty responsive when you try to contact it on any topic.
AliExpress is a home for thousands of merchants, and they are supposed to carry responsibility for your dissatisfaction. The marketplace has a strict policy about feedback, customer communication, and strikes. A seller who does not respond to messages, ignores disputes,” or receives negative feedback risks simply getting lost in the crowd of competitors as their products will simply disappear from search results.
On the one hand, it encourages Aliexpress sellers to be more responsive, but for the same reason, Aliexpress itself takes the position of judge, not service provider, and in some cases, it may resolve a dispute in favor of a seller if the marketplace decides that your evidence of poor service or misleading descriptions is not enough.
You may compare the competition between Temu and Aliexpres to the iconic rivalry between Pepsi and Coca-Cola. While some claim that the contrast is huge and the devil is in the details, others sincerely don`t feel any difference between the two soft drinks.
Both marketplaces source their products from the same manufacturers and warehouses, and the slight difference in their business models does not really affect the end customers. While AliExpress can be named as the most established and, therefore, reliable Chinese marketplace today, Temu is obviously up for the competition.
Both marketplaces don`t seem to give up, which is actually good for us, those who will enjoy their competitive customer policies, special offers, discounts, and other tricks they will invent in pursuit of our wallets.
Did you enjoy reading his comparison between Temu and Aliexpress? Do you have a clearer picture now about how these companies work and reward their customers? Or are you still in doubt and need more time to decide? Whatever you choose, make sure to buy only if you really need the product. The world needs to be more aware of how we consume and how much we need( usually, you need less than you think). Choose quality over quantity! This reminds me of a quote I shared yesterday on my Instagram page.