Temu Is Cheaper than Amazon on Prime Day – With a Huge Catch

Even on Amazon Prime Day, Chinese store Temu can still offer better prices, but with some serious caveats.

By now, you’ve probably heard of Temu. The Chinese retailer has taken the world of online shopping by storm, combining super cheap goods with an eye-watering marketing budget to catapult itself into the ecommerce mainstream practically overnight. Its rock bottom prices regularly beat the best deals Amazon can offer — even on Prime Day. Here are some items that you can get on Temu cheaper than Amazon right now – and one thing you can’t.

Of course, there’s a few caveats to shopping on Temu compared to Amazon. As I learned by shopping on Temu, its delivery timeframes are quite clearly inferior to those of Amazon, where Prime members get unlimited free next-day or even same-day delivery on a huge amount of the online superstore’s wares. Plus, as you can try Prime free for 30-days, there’s very little stopping you taking advantage of its latest deals.

However, on some things like phone accessories, generic electronics and clothing basics, Temu’s so cheap it just can’t be beat so long as you’re prepared to wait. Brand name goods are a different matter and I made some interesting discoveries when comparing cell phones. Let’s take a look at how the two retail rivals stack up on October Prime Day 2023.

Are Smartphone Accessories Cheaper on Temu or Amazon?

Smartphone accessories are Amazon’s bread and butter. You need a new iPhone case, USB charger, or SD card and you’ll have one on your front door the next day, if not sooner. They’re pretty cheap, too – just not as cheap as on Temu.

To compare Temu vs Amazon’s prices on Prime Day for phone accessories, I used an iPhone case as my baseline. I searched for generic products only, filtering on both sites sites from “Low to High” to get a fair comparison. I also used the caveat of ticking the free shipping box, as Temu offers free delivery as standard on many of its products, and some of Amazon’s less reputable sellers advertise products for a couple of cents, but then charge you for delivery.

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On Amazon, the cheapest iPhone cases are all around $3. Prime members will get them within a day or two, depending on the exact item that’s ordered.

Screenshot of iPhone cases for sale on the Amazon US website during Prime Day October 2023

On Temu, the cheapest iPhone cases are all under $1, but what you’re getting for that is pretty basic.

Screenshot of iPhone cases available on Temu US website

As you’d expect, the Amazon cases have a few more bells and whistles. For example, I found you get this shockproof and MagSafe compatible case for the all-new iPhone 15 for just $2.99. It honestly looks better than anything for sale on Temu, but it’s a couple of bucks more. At this price level, many people will likely pay the extra buck or two to get the case delivered quickly, from a retailer they know and trust.

However, Temu is still cheaper and there’s no getting away from it.

Temu is Much Cheaper for Clothing Essentials

Temu has made its name partly by capitalizing on the current trend for fast fashion. TikTok influencers in particular seem to have taken to the idea of getting a whole new season wardrobe for less than you might pay for an item or two at a bargain bin retailer like Marshalls or TJ Maxx.

First, I used the simplest comparison possible: socks.

On Amazon, the best Prime Day deal I could find had six pairs of plain white women’s ankle socks available for $8.49, which works out at just over $1.40 a pair.

Screenshot of white socks for sale on Amazon US during Prime Day October 2023

That’s cheap, really cheap even. It’s just not Temu cheap, as on the Chinese retailer you can get 10 pairs of plain white socks for just under $4, or 40 cents a pair!

Cheap white socks for sale on Temu US website

OK, but what about something slightly more “in” right now? Grandma has a racket on socks at Christmas and we don’t want to risk her wrath, so another good comparison was this season’s new must-have Halloween essential for Swifties: a Travis Kelce jersey.

I mean a generic one, and on Amazon it costs about $20 for a Chiefs-style jersey. You’ll have to wait longer than for a lot of other stuff, too, with shipping times being quoted 1+ week. You do get to customize what’s on the back, though, so you can badge it up as Traylor, Swelce, or whatever your favorite nickname for the year’s biggest “are they or aren’t they?” power couple.

Generic NFL style football jersey on sale at Amazon

On Temu, you’ll save about five bucks and can get one ready-to-go for around $15.

Travis Kelce jersey for sale on Temu

Amazon Bests Temu in Battle of the Brands

One area where Amazon enjoys a clear advantage over Temu is in its availability of brand names. At present, Temu only has access to two Chinese manufacturers, Lenovo and Xiaomi, meaning for many things it’s still Amazon or bust – or at the very least, it’s not a fair comparison.

What’s interesting is that where they do offer the same item, Amazon is roughly equivalent. For this comparison, I looked at the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12, using the same 4G LTE model with 128GB of on-board storage and 6GB of RAM, as phone specs have a real impact on pricing.

On Amazon, the device in Ice Blue is currently available for $171.70, though it’s worth noting in the US it’s locked to T-Mobile, Mint or Tello.

Redmi Note 12 smartphone on sale on Amazon US

On Temu, the same spec and Ice Blue flavor was priced at $170 but it sold out as I was writing this article. The Mint Green flavor is pricier at $190 and was advertising its last available unit.

Redmi Note 12 on sale on Temu

This one is too close to call, but on balance I’d actually give Amazon the nod given it seems to have better availability of the Xiaomi phone. This isn’t really a surprise and reinforces the fact that for big name brands, Amazon is head and shoulders above Temu.

Amazon vs Temu: Which is Cheaper on Prime Day?

The examples above show that Temu is generally cheaper than Amazon, even when Amazon is running a major deals event like Prime Day.

However, cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. Amazon has a better selection of goods than Temu, especially from named brands, its quality is often going to be superior, and its delivery (and returns) policies are more favorable to shoppers.

The only thing I would actively buy at Temu over Amazon was the white socks I looked at. Being such an generic purchase, I wouldn’t think twice about taking advantage of the frankly ludicrous offer of 40 cents a pair. Then again, I would want to cramp Grandma’s style at Christmas.

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Written by:
James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.
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