China's Shein is aiming squarely at the "Gen Z" social-media generation, using influencers on Instagram and TikTok, and discount codes, to attract younger shoppers, says Euromonitor International.
Nanjing-based Shein, founded in 2008, offers low-cost styles, uploading hundreds of new designs to its app every week. The price for a dress is around half that of Zara, according to a recent Societe Generale price survey.
The COVID-19 pandemic has boosted online sales at retailers, giving online-only players like Shein, Britain's Asos and Germany's Zalando an edge over Inditex-owned Zara and H&M which have big city-centre stores.
In September, the Shein app saw 10.3 million downloads globally from across the App Store and Google Play, Sensor Tower data shows. In comparison, H&M's mobile app hit about 2.5 million, and Zara saw 2 million.
To date, Shein has reached 229.4 million downloads, versus H&M's 123.5 million and Zara's 90.6 million, the data shows.