Temu Offers Beat Takealot for Tech and Lifestyle Items in South Africa

Takealot and Temu

Temu offers substantially better pricing on small electronics and accessories compared to those sold by resellers on Takealot.

The direct-from-China marketplace has revolutionized the e-commerce industry worldwide with its affordable prices.

Temu sources many of its most economical products directly from manufacturers and merchandise partners.

As a result, it can significantly undercut middlemen — like Takealot resellers — who must buy stock from overseas or local suppliers.

Although Chinese e-commerce websites like Aliexpress have been around much longer, they often only offer delivery through the South African Post Office or an expensive courier or mail-forwarding service.

A critical part of Temu’s success in South Africa has been its use of the mysterious Buffalo Logistics, which has proven to be a reliable fulfillment partner.

We examined listings for identical small electronics and accessories on Takealot and Temu to compare their pricing.

Takealot and Temu

Temu’s on-site prices do not include import duties or VAT, whereas Takealot’s prices include all costs except delivery.

Temu’s customers must pay taxes on their products upon arrival at South African customs.

The tax rate can vary greatly depending on the type of imported product, but many general electronics and small items sold for under R500 are exempt from special duties.

In these cases, an imported item’s actual cost will be an added tax value (ATV) of 110% of the item’s price plus 15% VAT on the uplifted price.

For example, an electronic product that costs R100 will be priced at R110 ATV, with VAT on the ATV being R16.50. The item’s total price therefore becomes R126.50.

Some electronic products — like TVs and computer monitors — carry substantial additional ad valorem taxes.

Importing these items will often cost more than buying them from a local supplier.

However, we found that small electronics and accessories generally cost substantially less on Temu, even after accounting for taxes.

The biggest price difference in our comparison was on a small USB night light that cost R84 on Takealot, compared with a 10-pack of the same item priced at R26 on Temu.

Takealot and Temu

When using the ATV and adding VAT, the total cost per night light on Temu was R3.20. The Takealot seller’s price was 2,525% higher.

The price differences generally decreased as the value of the items increased, with a 7-inch tablet for kids costing nearly the same on Takealot and Temu.

It should also be noted that Temu’s range does not include high-end products from reputable and well-known brands.

For example, customers will not find iPhones or official Apple products available in the store.

These products are generally only available through major distributors and wholesalers, which have operating, storage, and after-sales costs that add to the product’s price.

Additionally, it would likely be easier to return an item and get a refund from Takealot than from Temu, as the latter has no local offices or support.

Currently, the strength of Temu’s catalog lies in its small, low-value items that might be difficult to come by in South Africa at reasonable prices.

The table below compares the prices of identical electronics and accessories sold on Takealot and Temu.

Nate O'Hara
Nathan is a seasoned commerce writer with a passion for unraveling the intricacies of the business world and distilling them into engaging narratives. During his academic journey, he delved deep into subjects like economics, marketing, and entrepreneurship, honing his analytical skills and developing a keen understanding of market dynamics.