Temu Vs. Amazon: Which Online Store Is Better?

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Quick Answer: Amazon is still superior thanks to the excellent customer service, faster shipping and wider selection. However, Temu surprisingly beats out Amazon on select products price-wise, specifically the “commodity” products that you see the same over and over again on Amazon search results.


In the dynamic world of e-commerce, a rising star is challenging the established giant. Temu, which launched in September 2022, has made a significant splash in the online shopping world, creating ripples felt by even the likes of Amazon. But how do these two stores selling to folks in the USA stack up against each other? In this article, we take an in-depth look at which store is truly better.

Amazon, a household name synonymous with online shopping, has been dominating the e-commerce landscape for over two decades. Its vast product selection, intuitive interface, streamlined shipping, and unrivaled customer service have set the standard in the industry. With the introduction of services like Amazon Prime, the company has continually refined its customer experience, setting a high bar for competitors.

On the other hand, Temu, although a newcomer, has quickly gained traction. Launched in late 2022, Temu has made an impressive debut, offering competitive prices and a wide range of products, positioning itself as an alternative to more traditional online marketplaces. However, it’s still grappling with the challenges of a newer platform, with room to improve in areas like customer service, user interface, and shipping consistency.

In this article, we’ll compare these two online marketplaces across several key categories, aiming to help you determine which is a better fit for your shopping needs. From customer support and user interface to refund policies, product quality, selection, and shipping, we’ve got you covered. Let’s delve in!



The exact same product but for cheaper at Temu.

When diving into the sea of online retail, one of the first aspects consumers consider is pricing. Here, we analyze the pricing models of two key players in the e-commerce space, Amazon, the longstanding incumbent, and Temu, a new entrant that surfaced in September 2022.

Amazon, with its global recognition and diverse product offerings, provides a reliable shopping experience, albeit at prices that can occasionally be higher. On the other hand, Temu, a China-based platform, attempts to disrupt traditional e-commerce. By establishing direct lines between US customers and Chinese manufacturers, Temu manages to bypass intermediaries, allowing for theoretically lower prices on a variety of goods, a fact that particularly stands out when assessing commodity items.

However, an article on Reuters has brought a different dimension to this price comparison. Amazon, it seems, has chosen to exclude Temu from its price-checking algorithm, a tool that ensures competitive pricing across its platform as of June 2023. According to Amazon, Temu fails to meet the stringent standards set by its fair pricing policy, thus permitting some of Temu’s less expensive products to surpass those offered by Amazon’s sellers. The article also highlighted some lawsuits from Amazon sellers against Temu with pricing as a concern.

To visualize the pricing discrepancy between Amazon and Temu, we narrowed our focus to a common product: headphones. Our comparative analysis, which includes a box plot detailing the price dispersion, illustrates a consistent trend.

Analysis completed on 100 products on Temu vs. Amazon on 6/26/2023.

Amazon’s headphone prices, while complemented by an expansive selection and quick delivery times, are noticeably higher than those on Temu. If you do a side by side comparison of the images of the product that you can buy on Temu vs. Amazon, you’ll see the exact same product image for significantly less on Temu a good amount of the time. And this applies to multiple product categories over and over again. But it is not universal. Amazon does beat out Temu in many cases outside of this narrow “products that look alike” focus.

Moving the spotlight onto Temu, it’s apparent that the platform offers a cost-friendly alternative. Especially in the case of commodity headphones—those with indistinguishable designs across various brands—Temu edges out Amazon on pricing. This is akin to discovering that off-brand cereal is not only cheaper but also comparable in taste to its pricier counterpart.


To sum up, Amazon’s superior service and vast product selection come with a price tag to match, whereas Temu’s direct-to-consumer model offers lower prices, albeit with potential drawbacks in product quality or authenticity. But the saying “You get what you pay for” might apply here, time will tell.

Price Winner: Temu.

Customer Support

When it comes to customer support, Amazon clearly takes the lead. With many years of experience under their belt, they have meticulously refined their customer service approach to a near-perfect standard. Amazon’s support is accessible through a variety of channels, making it easier for customers to find help when they need it.

In comparison, Temu, a relatively newer player in the e-commerce field, is still working to develop its customer service strategies. One significant change they recently made was the removal of their customer phone support. Instead of a direct line to call, they’ve transitioned to a chat-centric model alongside other digital contact methods. This decision has received mixed reactions, as some customers appreciate the immediacy and convenience of chat, while others miss the personal touch of a phone conversation.

Additionally, there have been unintended consequences from this change. Due to an article my website published about Temu, some individuals have confused my website’s phone number with Temu’s, leading to a barrage of calls meant for the company. In many instances, these calls concern lost orders or failed refunds. Though it’s important to note that this is a small snapshot of their overall customer experience, it does highlight some potential areas of improvement for Temu’s customer service.

While Temu is striving to improve their services and match Amazon’s level of customer support, they are facing challenges. Amazon’s long-standing presence and established trust in the field have made it the golden standard for e-commerce customer service. However, with time, one can hope that Temu will adapt to the changing customer service landscape and address these issues, better catering to its customers’ needs. If Temu can win this area, Amazon will be in trouble.

Customer Service Winner: Amazon.


User-Friendly Interface

In the world of online shopping, having a user-friendly interface is a crucial component for a successful experience. Amazon’s user interface, honed over decades, is known for its intuitive and easy-to-navigate design, making it simple for users to find what they’re looking for. However, it should be noted that Amazon has recently increased the number of advertisements within search results. While this might be considered a slight annoyance, these ads don’t significantly interrupt the user experience, and many even highlight relevant products the user may find valuable.

On the other hand, Temu’s interface has received a more lukewarm reception, particularly their mobile application. There have been several reports of irritating popups, promotional materials, and flashing elements disrupting the browsing experience. These elements can be distracting and off-putting to some users, and have contributed to its mixed ratings on app stores and more.

That being said, it’s not all negative for Temu. Many of these popups and promotions are designed to provide users with potential savings and deals. While some users may find these interruptions annoying, others appreciate the opportunity to save money. Therefore, the user’s perception of the interface might hinge on personal preferences, as well as their patience for such promotional tactics.

In summary, while Amazon’s platform does include an increasing amount of advertisements, they’re generally well integrated into the user experience. Conversely, Temu’s use of popups and promotions, while potentially beneficial in terms of savings, can detract from a seamless browsing experience. Both companies, in their unique ways, are seeking to balance user experience with promotional strategies. It’s evident, however, that achieving this balance remains a challenging endeavor in the world of e-commerce.

User Interface Winner: Amazon.


Shipping is another important aspect that differentiates these two online giants. Both Amazon and Temu provide free shipping on their products, which is a major advantage for their customers.

However, Amazon gains the upper hand with its Amazon Prime membership. This premium subscription service offers free two-day shipping on eligible items, along with several other benefits such as access to Prime Video, Prime Music, and more. The fast and efficient delivery system of Amazon ensures you get your products at your doorstep in the shortest possible time, which is a significant boon if you’re purchasing a product urgently.

On the other hand, while Temu does offer free shipping, many of their items are shipped directly from China. This could result in extended delivery times, typically around two to three weeks. Though some customers might be willing to accept longer wait times for the cost benefits, it might not suit those needing their orders more swiftly.

Taking these factors into account, if speed and reliability are what you’re looking for, Amazon would be your best choice for shipping. Not only does it offer expedited shipping with its Prime membership, but it also tends to be more consistent in its delivery times, particularly for customers in the USA.


Shipping Winner: Amazon.

Refund Policies

Another aspect that is a determining factor for many customers when choosing an online platform is the ease and reliability of the return and refund process. Amazon, with its broad range of products, has built a robust return system over the years that is generally straightforward and customer-friendly. Whether it’s groceries, electronics, or other various products, Amazon’s return process is designed to be as hassle-free as possible.

Furthermore, Amazon’s customer-first approach extends even to products not typically covered by their refund policy. In some instances, Amazon has been known to issue refunds or replacements for items outside their usual return conditions. This extra flexibility is a testament to Amazon’s commitment to customer satisfaction and further enhances its appeal in the eyes of consumers.

On the other hand, while Temu has made efforts to improve its refund policies, the company has not yet achieved the same level of customer satisfaction in this area as Amazon. Although Temu is striving to streamline its process and respond to customer concerns, it still lags behind Amazon in terms of ease, speed, and flexibility of returns and refunds.

Amazon’s superior return and refund policies, its customer-centric approach, and its willingness to accommodate exceptions to their refund policy when necessary, all make it the clear winner in this category.

Refund Policy Winner: Amazon.

Quality & Selection


Amazon is renowned for its vast and varied selection of goods, encompassing everything from everyday household items to high-end tech gadgets. Its platform features a wealth of well-established, trustworthy brands, which often instills a sense of confidence in consumers regarding the quality of the products they purchase. This, in conjunction with Amazon’s strict vetting process for sellers and products, ensures that most items sold on the platform meet the quality expectations of the consumers.

On the contrary, Temu’s reputation regarding product quality is less consistent. There have been numerous reports of counterfeit or substandard products being sold on the platform, causing concern among users. The shopping experience on Temu can sometimes feel like a gamble due to the uncertainty surrounding the authenticity and quality of the products.

When it comes to the range of products available, while Temu does offer a wide array of goods, their platform lacks the presence of certain reputable and high-end brands. For instance, a search for a product like the PS5 can yield results from dubious sources, further enhancing the concerns about product authenticity.

In a significant development, Amazon recently made the decision not to honor price-matching against Temu, citing it as a “questionable marketplace,” according to a recent article from Reuters here. This move by Amazon underscores the concerns around product quality and authenticity on Temu and sets a distinctive boundary in terms of market reputation between the two platforms.

Although Temu offers a wide range of products, their inability to consistently ensure product authenticity and quality significantly diminishes their competitiveness in the online shopping space. Meanwhile, Amazon continues to uphold a high standard of quality control and selection, providing customers with a more reliable and trustworthy shopping experience.

Quality & Selection Winner: Amazon.

Alright, let’s break it down: Amazon is still the top dog, no question about it. They’ve got you covered on all fronts – the goods, the speed, the customer care. They’re the reliable old friend who’s always there when you need them. But don’t brush off Temu just yet. These guys are scrappy, offering some real steals on price tags for certain stuff. Sure, it’s a bit like David taking on Goliath, but remember, competition is the spice of life – or was it innovation? Anyway, it’s sure to keep things interesting in the e-commerce neighborhood.

But as things stand, Amazon is still king of the hill. Now, if Temu manages to level up their game – better selection, quality, and some customer service TLC – we might just see an underdog story unfold. But until then, Amazon keeps its throne. And hey, no harm in keeping an eye on both, right?

Overall Winner: Amazon. I personally start my shopping first on Amazon and if I know it’s a Chinese seller I may hop over to Temu if I’m not in a hurry to get it cheaper.

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