Could Temu addiction be spinning out of control for online bargain hunters?

Staff writers
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Temu is becoming one of the most popular online retailers in Australia. But what are we signing up for?
Temu is becoming one of the most popular online retailers in Australia. But what are we signing up for? Credit: The Nightly/TheWest

Australian shoppers are being enticed to buy more than they bargained for as popular shopping app Temu encourages them to spin and win deals but doctors are warning overuse could present health risks.

Online bargain hunters are at risk of developing an addiction to the online retailer, as the series of gaming-style enticements lure people in to search for more deals according to an expert.

Temu launched 12 months ago in Australia, and has become a popular destination for ultra-cheap household products.

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Queensland University of Technology Business School Senior Lecturer Dr Shasha Wang told Natalie Barr and Matt Shirvington on Channel 7’s Sunrise that many shoppers developed an unhealthy reliance on the online retailer’s app.

“(The app) is mostly based on the mechanism of games — it’s a balance between challenge and reward,” Dr Wang said.

The Temu app has a spinning wheel element, where shoppers can earn spins through purchases and participate in certain promotions.

Users can also get discounts and free products from the wheel.

“When people are spinning the wheel, it provides a challenge, they conquer a small challenge, but they get rewards in terms of incentives and coupons they can use that make it more enjoyable for consumers.

“In turn, they shop more and perhaps purchase more.”

Wang was asked how shoppers could deal with their potential addiction and offered a few simple rules.

“I would say firstly try to set up a cooling-off period before you make any purchase decision,” Wang said.

“Secondly, when you provide information online, try to consider what information you want to provide, because the recommendations are based on the data you provide.

“(The information) includes your shopping behaviour and also your personal information. So, make informed decisions by reading the policies and privacy policies.”

The company, started in Shanghai, but recently moved its headquarters to Ireland and last year spent $755 million on marketing.

Cybersecurity expert Susan McLean recently warned Temu shoppers about possible privacy risks and data collection breaches.

Temu has strenuously denied its website or app poses any risk to customers.

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