Temu, Microsoft’s Copilot AI app top charts after Super Bowl ads

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Two relatively new apps, Temu and Microsoft’s Copilot, topped the download charts after their Super Bowl commercials aired Sunday in some of the most prized ad spots on television. 

Microsoft’s Copilot, an artificial intelligence chatbot, launched a year ago, and Temu, an e-commerce marketplace with staggeringly low prices, launched in September 2022.

On Apple’s App Store on Monday, the top three most downloaded free apps were Paramount+, Copilot and Temu. All three companies advertised during the Super Bowl, and Paramount+ was also used to stream the event, which contributed to its rise to the top of the chart. On Google Play, where Android users can download apps, Temu is the sixth most popular app.

Super Bowl commercials have historically held the potential for big impact for both well-known brands and emerging ones. Over the past few years, buzzy innovations like cryptocurrency (which dominated 2022 Super Bowl ads, only to almost disappear in 2023 and 2024 ads) have played a major role in the ad spending frenzy. In 2024, AI tools like Copilot and e-commerce giants like Temu took center stage. 

Temu had a Super Bowl commercial spot in 2023, but this year the Chinese-operated company ran four identical commercials with a jingle and the slogan “Shop like a billionaire” alongside $15 million in giveaways. 

The ads struck a chord on social media, with several viral posts making fun of Temu’s cheap offerings and its apparent ability to afford so many ads. 

Temu has experienced meteoric growth since it entered the U.S. market in September 2022, and the four 2024 Super Bowl ads seem to have paid off.

Mobile intelligence company Apptopia’s vice president of research, Tom Grant, told NBC News in a statement Monday that Temu’s app downloads increased 34% on Super Bowl Sunday from the day before, which was Temu’s fastest day-over-day growth since November.

“Temu continues to dwarf the competition when it comes to advertising spend and adding new users,” Grant said, also noting that Temu app downloads were still down 13% compared to last year’s Super Bowl.

The market intelligence firm Sensor Tower said Monday that Temu’s ad spend has driven its enormous growth in under two years. In 2023, Temu was the No. 1 most downloaded app in the U.S. and the eighth most downloaded app globally.

“Temu has completely captivated consumers over the course of last year,” Sensor Tower said in a statement. Temu’s popularity grew alongside its major ad spending on social media platforms like Facebook, where it spent more than any other retailer besides Amazon during the last few months of 2023, Sensor Tower said.

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The ad spend was reflected in the time users spent on Temu during the same period, according to Sensor Tower, which found that users spent an average of 23 minutes a week on it at the end of 2023, compared to 18 minutes for Amazon and 14 minutes for Walmart. 

Temu’s appeal stems from prices even lower than Amazon’s for merchandise often delivered directly from manufacturers in China. The app has also used a gamified design approach, with in-app games that have discount rewards and countdown deal timers.

Temu’s success has been so rapid and intense that other e-commerce platforms have said it has affected them. After Jane.com, an American e-commerce platform for small businesses, shut down in late 2023, company bankruptcy documents said it was impossible to compete with Temu’s low prices. 

Temu’s success has also been followed by some concern. A TikTok creator who has touted hauls and deals from Temu told NBC News in June that viewers were concerned about the labor conditions behind the cheap products and the environmental impact of creating and shipping so many products. 

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