STUDY: Shein Leads Ultra-Fast Fashion Brands on Social Media Ad Spend

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BrandTotal analyzed thousands of paid social media ads from six top ultra-fast fashion brands including Shein, Fashion Nova & Boohoo

NEW YORK, NY (October 20, 2021) — In conjunction with Advertising Week NYC, BrandTotal, a leading social competitive intelligence and brand analytics platform, today released new data examining the ultra-fast fashion category. 

For the study, BrandTotal analyzed paid social media ad campaigns by ultra-fast fashion leaders, including Shein, Boohoo, Princess Polly, Fashion Nova, PrettyLittleThings, and Zaful across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Campaigns analyzed were from a 90-day period, July 8th to October 5th. Key findings are as follows. 

Shein Wins on Paid Share-of-Voice

UFF_paid-sovIn an analysis of paid Share-of-Voice (SOV), which is defined by percentage of sponsored impressions, Shein won, with 94% paid SOV, compared to 3% for PrettyLittleThings and 2% for Princess Polly. 

“Shein is beating PrettyLittleThings and Princess Polly soundly,” said Alon Leibovich, CEO & Co-Founder, BrandTotal. “They are spending considerable dollars in this category and outpacing their rivals.”

Princess Polly and Boohoo Most Aggressive in Courting Gen Z

Princess Polly and Boohoo were the most likely to advertise to Gen Z (18-24) on social, as almost all of their ad impressions (94%) and (90%) targeted that demographic. For comparison, 44% of percent of Shein’s impressions and 68% of Zaful’s impressions targeted Gen Z. 

“Princess Polly and Boohoo were the most aggressive in going after younger audiences, with PrettyLittleThings not too far behind at eighty-five percent,” said Leibovich. “The majority of their impressions were served to people between 18-24 years old.”

Boohoo: Demographic Mix

demo-mix_bohooFashion Nova: Demographic Mix


PrettyLittleThings: Demographic Mix


Princess Polly: Demographic Mix


Shein: Demographic Mix


Zaful: Demographic Mix


“Targeting a younger audience is a strategic move by brands to capitalize on digital natives who grew up in a world of social media and ecommerce,” added Leibovich. “Younger audiences are also more likely to convert online.” 

Zaful & Fashion Nova See Engagement

Though Zaful and Fashion Nova are lower on paid SOV, they jump to the top-3 (1 and 3) when it comes to ad engagement. 

UFF_engagementsAdditionally, regarding engagement, Princess Polly saw the most video ad views with 449.9k, followed by Shein (350.4k) and PrettyLittleThings (303.2k). PrincessPolly (50%), PrettyLittleThings (35%) and Boohoo (23%) were the most reliant on video vs. non-video ads. 

YouTube is Most Popular 

Boohoo, PrettyLittleThings, and Princess Polly focused the majority of their social ad budgets on YouTube. Here’s the breakdown:

Screen Shot 2021-10-13 at 5.37.35 PM

“Boohoo, PrettyLittleThings and Princess Polly have very similar social ad strategies, allocating most of their social media mix on YouTube,” said Leibovich. “FashionNova has opted for a very different strategy focusing only on Facebook while Shein focused their ad strategy solely on Twitter.”

Added Leibovich: “Keep in mind, this media mix analysis strictly covers ad units and does not cover sponsored content with influencers. Though Zaful and Shein, for example, aren’t spending on YouTube ad units, they’re very likely paying influencers to do try-on hauls.” 

Advertisers and agencies can sign up for a free demo of BrandTotal here:

About BrandTotal

BrandTotal is a leading social competitive intelligence and brand analytics platform, enabling brand marketers to make decisions based on data, not gut feelings. BrandTotal was founded in 2016 and serves customers in North America, Europe, and Israel. Headquartered in New York, with offices in San Francisco and Israel, BrandTotal's customers range from well-established Fortune 500 brands to the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer challenger brands. The company is funded by world-class VC firms INcapital Ventures, Flint Capital, NHN Investment, One Way Ventures, FJ Labs, Glilot Capital Partners, and Keshet Dick Clark Productions along with early support from Microsoft Accelerator and Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator. Find us at