Addicted to shopping at Temu? You might be getting a forced labor fix

Addicted to shopping at Temu? You might be getting a forced labor fix

Addicted to shopping at Temu? You might be getting a forced labor fix

Temu has perfected the art of gamifying cheap online shopping as reported by the BBC. Using everything from roulette wheels with cash coupons, to countdown timers about to run out, to constant free delivery pitches to lure consumers into spending. And as with gambling, these tactics are effective, with some consumers saying they’ve become addicted to the sales platform.

But U.S. lawmakers have warned of an “extremely high risk” that products sold on Temu have been made with forced labor. So, while you may be getting seemingly great deals a dopamine hit, someone else is paying the price.

Shopping that feels like gambling

Lightning bolt deals burst across the screen and timers or countdown clocks pop-up on the page when you visit Temu’s shopping platform. Experts say this “perceived urgency” tactic is effectively mimicking the same strategy behind slot machines, using sounds and actions to heighten arousal levels and lead to continued engagement. And while it isn’t clinical addiction, consumers are still buying in, with addiction and retail experts saying the gaming elements are likely driving consumers to make unwise financial choices.

Neil Saunders, a retail analyst said:

 “Temu is as addictive as sugar, the experience and cheap prices give consumers a little dopamine hit and keeps them coming back for more.”

Along with their mind-blowing low prices, the steady drip-feed approach of Temu’s marketing tactics are a constant lure that aims to get consumers to buy more through the promise of free gifts. This can “take you down a spiral” that always has one last hurdle before the promised reward, to keep you hooked. Temu’s strategically addictive nature and artificially low prices are a standard long-term corporate strategy of operating at a loss to squeeze out all competition. And while consumers are being hooked into coming back again and again to get their cheap “shopping fix”, those further down in the supply chain are paying a huge price for that addiction.

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