'Timo:' Chinese shopping app that has more downloads than Insta and Tik Tok 'Timo:' Chinese shopping app that has more downloads than Insta and Tik Tok

'Timo:' Chinese shopping app that has more downloads than Insta and Tik Tok

'Timo:' Chinese shopping app that has more downloads than Insta and Tik Tok

Timo's popularity in the UK and US, where it was downloaded more than TikTok and Instagram combined last year, has left its rivals looking for ways to compete.

If you've searched for 'cheap shoes', 'cheap toys', 'cheap bowls', 'cheap clothes', 'cheap appliances', cheap pillows or cheap 'suitcases' online this year, chances are That your ex is lying with 'Timo', a Chinese app used for shopping.

In less than two years, this e-commerce firm has gone from zero to the largest (most downloaded) app in the English-speaking world.

Getting Timo to the top of your Google results is the result of a very aggressive marketing campaign. The brand is shown to be the most attractive place. An ad for the 2024 football championship Super Bowl asked viewers to 'shop like a billionaire' through an app that promises to be a 'shop for everything'.

Apart from shoes, toys, clothes and fashion, there are also products that most people may not even know exist. Some products are just not meant to be.

For example, a shower cap for just one ear, a bib for a trimmed beard, and headlights for shoes. (There are about 40 million posts on TikTok about 'weird things on Timo').

There are countless items for less than a pound, from scissors to socks. Currently Timo is facing a loss of around $30 on every order placed through the website. The extremely low prices of goods and the massive advertising that has cost more than five billion dollars since the app was introduced in September 2022, are all aimed at giving the online retailer a growth that has never been seen before.

But it wasn't just low prices and billions of dollars in advertising that led to Timo's phenomenal growth. The app offers a whole new way of shopping. It makes the shopping process feel like a game show where you have to rush. This app combines the shopping experience with the attraction of a daytime shopping television channel. The app offers the opportunity to shop with limited-time discounts, countdown timers on sales and virtual spinning wheels to reduce prices. 

Sasha Wang, a senior lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, says the app 'tries to create an experience like a treasure hunt. It is the most downloaded app in the university.' Dr. Wang has also researched the popularity of Timo. He says that this app was introduced when the problems of the users were increasing.

Dr Wang wrote in an article in September: 'Timo came into the market at a time when consumers were facing global inflation which led them to 'cheap goods'.

'Unlike other e-commerce platforms that focus on practical benefits such as saving money, Teamo caters to the emotional needs of consumers. It combines the shopping experience with the concept of 'shopping like a billionaire', which is also consistent with its low-priced merchandise strategy.

Timo's popularity in the UK and US, where it was downloaded more than TikTok and Instagram combined last year, has left its rivals looking for ways to compete. Last month, Amazon reportedly called a private meeting to unveil a new discount shopping app. The app will connect Chinese suppliers directly with buyers in the U.S., like Timo.

Amazon did not confirm the news, which first appeared on CNBC and The Information. An Amazon spokesperson told The Independent that the company is 'looking for new ways to work with our selling partners to delight our customers with more choice, lower prices and greater convenience.'

But Timo's success is not without controversy. In November last year, an investigation by consumer group Veitch alleged that illegal weapons, such as folding knives and batons, were being offered on the online market at 'very cheap' prices.

Three months later, another Veitch investigation warned that electric heaters sold at Timo could explode. They can cause electric shocks or house fires.

Sue Davies, head of consumer protection policy at Veitch, said: 'The problem with dangerous goods will be exacerbated when quality standards are relaxed for giants like Timo compared to traditional retailers.'

Timo later removed the unsafe electric heaters from sale and claims to have introduced a 'comprehensive policy for vetting sellers and products' on its platform.

 A company spokesperson told The Independent that 'necessary documents, such as certificates, labels, testing reports and registration records, will be required before any item is allowed to be sold on the platform.'

To some, Timo fills a niche in the market that no other retailer fills. They didn't even feel the need for it. Others believe that the introduction of the app is a sign of the rise of shopping—the first hiccups of the death of late capitalism.

After seeing Timo's ad during the Super Bowl, a social media Reddit user wrote, 'It made me feel bad but I can't explain why. Also why would a billionaire buy stuff on Timo.'

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