A16z-backed Shein challenger Cider is growing rapidly – ​​TechCrunch

Shein showed the world how the combination of social media marketing, data analytics and China’s well-oiled supply chain has created a $100 billion fast fashion giant.

Its success naturally breeds imitators and challengers. Among its fastest-growing challengers is Cider, which, like Shein, relies on China’s responsive apparel makers to sell affordable, on-trend pieces to customers around the world.

Cider has racked up around 7.4 million installs worldwide to date, according to data provided by market intelligence firm Sensor Tower. This number is dwarfed by Shein, who gained over 170 million downloads worldwide in 2021 and overtook Amazon as the best shopping app in the US last year.

But keep in mind that Cider was only founded in 2020 while Shein started over a decade ago. And Cider has entered the crowded US market, which accounts for 43% of its total downloads. In the first half of 2022, it recorded 2 million downloads in the US, marking a staggering 1,686% year-over-year growth.

Cider’s other main markets are the UK, Germany, France, Canada and South Korea, according to Sensor Tower. It currently ranks among the top 10 shopping apps in the App Stores of France and South Korea, according to app analytics firm Data.ai.

Cider’s App Store Ranking for the Last 90 Days. Data: Data.ai

Shein has grown too big to be easily knocked down, so startups like Cider are instead targeting the giant’s untapped niches. A browse around Shein today shows that the company is increasingly going after Amazon and isn’t bound by its fashion background. From pet toys to air purifiers, Shein continues to expand its product offering.

Cider, by comparison, is more focused. It clearly wants to be the go-to store for Gen Z consumers with its range of Year 2000 appearance brightly colored crop tops and t-shirts.

The startup’s traction is by no means a shock given the list of resourceful investors it has attracted: a16z, including partner Connie Chan personally Explain how Cider’s demand-driven market works; DST Global, the first investor in ByteDance; IDG Capital, one of China’s largest venture capital firms; and MSA Capital, which bets on global startups inspired by Chinese tech business models.

Last September, Cider raised $130 million in funding and crossed the $1 billion valuation threshold.

The company is vague about its physical base, saying it “has offices in Los Angeles” and employs between 200 and 500 employees, according to its website. It will not be surprising if the firm announces one day that its headquarters are outside of China. Over the past few months, Shein, who for years clung to the narrative that its creation was inspired by its founder’s trip to Los Angeles, has been transferring its main assets to Singapore.

As China tightens control over how tech companies transfer data across borders and Chinese companies are increasingly ensnared by geopolitical complications, startups founded in China will seek to position themselves as companies “global”, whether through branding or the actual structuring of the business.

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