Chinese fast-fashion disruptor Shein has swiftly risen to fame, captivating a demographic of social media-savvy 16-to-30-year-olds.
Founded in Nanjing by CEO Chris Xu, Shein, originally Sheinside.com, diversified to offer womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, beauty products, and homeware.
Operating globally, Shein has dedicated sites for the US, Italy, France, Spain, the Middle East, Australia, and Russia, shipping to over 200 countries.
Unlike rivals JD.com and Alibaba, Shein does not sell in its home country of mainland China.
Small items are shipped directly from Chinese warehouses, exempt from import duties in most Western countries. This approach allows Shein to maintain competitive delivery prices and effectively compete with local businesses.
Shein is a private company and does not share its financial figures. However, in September 2023, Shein’s UK arm, Shein Distribution UK Limited, reported £1.1bn in sales and a pre-tax profit of £12.2m for the 16 months ending on 31 December 2022. The company was only incorporated on 6 September 2021, so there are no sales directly comparable to this.
Innovation rating: 3