Decoding Shein – the fast fashion steamroller threatening the European status quo.

How does Shein’s growth compare to the likes of e-commerce stalwart, Amazon? And which Fast Fashion staples are losing wallet share as a result of this growth across acquisition, retention and ACV?

Shein’s rise to success in the fast fashion world is no secret. Since launching in 2012, the industry has witnessed the ‘newcomer’s’ exponential growth, now one of the world’s largest fashion retailers, rivalling the likes of H&M, Zara, ASOS and Boohoo.

Shein’s actions in 2023 indicated the importance of the European region for its global success, including opening its Dublin HQ, launching logistics centers in Italy and Poland, buying the Misguided brand, and expanding its European marketing efforts.

Shein has since seen rapid growth in acquisition, retention, wallet share and customer value across its European customer base, to the detriment of its e-commerce rivals.

But what are the driving factors underlying such rapid and persistent growth? And what makes Europe such an important part of the Shein picture?

Fable Data’s pan-European consumer spend dataset has the coverage and granularity to answer these questions, covering the 5 major European economies and with access to the most detailed merchant and consumer attributes.

Customer acquisition at Shein is thriving with Fable Data showing new customers averaging ~20% of monthly customers. For comparison, we see the more mature player Amazon remaining at a stable 5%.

Wallet share for Shein also continues to expand, with rapid customer acquisition most noticeable in Germany and the UK.

But who is losing out as a result? What Fable’s European transaction data is showing at a glance:

Get in touch for insight at an individual country level for all countries mentioned.

Retention rates continue to show a positive story for Shein across Europe, showing a similar growth trajectory to the more mature player, Amazon (albeit at a lower level of 11% versus Amazon’s 30%).

Get in touch for a per country breakdown of retention rate across UK, DE, FR, IT, ES.

A strong Average Customer Value (ACV) puts Shein on par with Amazon at a healthy €72, and monthly transactions also continue to grow, albeit at a lower level than Amazon.

Lastly, in the context of such strong customer acquisition, Fable’s data allows us to look into refund rates as a final measure of performance. Yet again, Shein appears successful, enjoying a stable refund rate of less than 15% which is close to the industry norm.

As Shein continues this exponential growth, threatening the competition not just for its customers but now also for its suppliers, the question is: will the trajectory continue? Will cost of living pressures put the brakes on growth, or will Shein continue to outperform by delivering affordable fashion at rapid pace?

Get in touch for access to the full insights and to find out more about Fable Data’s pan-European consumer spend data.