Cider vs Shein: The Ultimate Comparison

December 21, 2023
cider vs shein

Two titans rule the fast fashion realm: Cider, the rising star launched in 2020 and boasting a market cap of over $1 billion, and Shein, the established powerhouse founded in 2008 with a staggering $100 billion valuation. 

This guide dives deep into the crucial aspects you consider when making fashion choices, comparing and contrasting Cider and Shein across price, quality, style selection, shopping experience, sustainability, and ethics. 

So, before you get swept up in the whirlwind of Cider vs. Shein, let’s embark on a journey to discover which brand resonates most with your unique fashion identity.

Price and Value

Fast fashion has taken the clothing industry by storm, with online retailers like Cider and Shein offering trendy and affordable pieces for every shopper.  

Cider: Trendy Styles at Budget-Friendly Prices

Cider prides itself on delivering “new fashion every week,” with a focus on on-trend styles and unique designs. Their average price point sits slightly above Shein’s, hovering around $20-$30 per item. Dresses, for example, range from $15 to $40, while tops and bottoms fall within the $10-$25 range.

While Cider’s prices are slightly higher, they consistently receive praise for their high-quality fabrics and construction. Their clothing feels more substantial and durable compared to Shein’s, offering better value for the price point. However, it’s important to note that sizing can be inconsistent across different styles.

Shein: Unbeatable Prices, But Quality Varies

Shein is the undisputed champion of fast fashion affordable prices, with tags that are often shockingly low. Dresses can be found for under $10, while tops and bottoms frequently fall below $5. However, the quality varies significantly across different items. Some pieces may be surprisingly well-made, while others feel flimsy and cheap.

One of Shein’s biggest drawbacks is its inconsistent sizing. Their size chart can be difficult to navigate, and many customers find that items run small. Additionally, Shein has faced criticism for its ethical and sustainability practices, raising concerns among environmentally conscious consumers.

Product Selection and Quality

When it comes to product selection and quality, which brand has the highest variety and uses the best materials? 

Cider: Curated Selection, Unique Designs

Cider boasts a carefully curated selection of clothing, focusing on unique designs and up-to-the-minute trends. Their product range encompasses a variety of styles, from feminine dresses and playful rompers to chic two-piece sets and edgy statement pieces.

Cider also offers a selection of accessories, shoes, and swimwear, allowing you to complete your entire look in one place. Their commitment to high-quality materials and construction ensures that their clothing feels substantial and durable, with many pieces featuring intricate details and unique embellishments.

However, Cider’s product selection is smaller compared to Shein, with fewer variations within each style category. Additionally, their sizes can be inconsistent, requiring careful attention to the size chart before purchasing.

Shein: Vast Collection, Quality Varies

Shein is the undisputed king of product variety, offering a staggering selection of clothing and accessories across virtually every imaginable style. From classic and casual wear to formal dresses and bold statement pieces, Shein has something for everyone.

However, Shein’s vastness can be overwhelming, and the sheer volume of items often leads to inconsistency in quality. While some pieces are surprisingly well-made, others may feel flimsy and cheap, requiring careful evaluation before making a purchase.

Shein also frequently faces criticism for its inconsistent sizing, with their size chart often proving unreliable. This can lead to disappointment and frustration, especially for shoppers who rely on accurate sizing information.

Shopping Experience and Customer Service

In the fast-paced realm of online fashion, a smooth and seamless shopping experience is crucial. Let’s compare the customer journeys offered by Cider and Shein, from browsing and checkout to returns and customer service.

Cider: User-Friendly Interface, Limited Customer Service Options

Cider’s website boasts a clean, modern aesthetic and a user-friendly interface. Browsing is a breeze, with clear product categories, detailed descriptions, and high-quality product photos showcasing various angles and styles.

The checkout process is straightforward and secure, offering multiple payment options and a clear breakdown of shipping costs and delivery times. However, Cider Clothing reviews show that some customers may find Cider’s customer service options limited. 

While they do offer a live chat feature and email support, their response times can be slow, and the resolutions offered may not always be satisfactory.

Shein: Robust Features, Room for Improvement in Customer Service

Shein’s website offers a multitude of features, including a “Style Inspiration” section with curated looks and a “Points & Rewards” program that incentivizes repeat purchases.

The checkout process is similar to Cider’s, but Shein provides more transparency regarding estimated arrival dates and offers different shipping options to cater to various needs. 

However, like Cider, Shein’s customer service has received criticism for inconsistencies and occasional delays in response times.

Community & Influencer Marketing

Fast fashion brands have mastered the art of generating buzz and attracting customers, and Cider and Shein are no exception. 

Both brands leverage the power of online communities and influencer marketing to amplify their reach and engage their target audience. But how do their strategies differ? 

Cider: Building a Loyal Tribe with Organic Engagement

Cider focuses on fostering a dedicated community through organic engagement and user-generated content. They actively encourage customers to share their purchases and experiences on social media using branded hashtags and contests. 

This strategy allows them to cultivate a sense of authenticity and connection with their target audience.

Cider also collaborates with a smaller selection of micro-influencers who align with their brand identity and aesthetic. These partnerships promote a more intimate feel, allowing them to connect with their core audience on a deeper level.

Shein: Leveraging Established Influencers for Maximum Reach

Shein adopts a more traditional approach to influencer marketing, partnering with a vast network of established influencers across various platforms. This strategy allows them to reach a wider audience and generate significant buzz around their brand and new launches.

Shein’s influencer collaborations often involve lavish campaigns and exclusive content, showcasing their trendy styles and product diversity. However, this approach can sometimes feel less authentic and more focused on mass appeal.

Sustainability and Ethical Concerns

In today’s conscious consumer landscape, the ethical and sustainable practices of fashion brands are becoming increasingly important considerations. 

Cider: Striving for Sustainability, Addressing Ethical Concerns

Cider claims to be committed to sustainable practices, highlighting the use of recycled materials in some of their products and promising to increase their use in the future. 

They also employ eco-friendly packaging and strive to reduce their carbon footprint throughout the production process. Having said that, there were also some regarding their use of virgin polyester, which is a harmful material. 

However, Cider’s transparency regarding their ethical practices is limited. While they claim to adhere to fair labor standards, they haven’t provided concrete evidence or independent certifications to support these claims. 

This lack of transparency raises questions about worker safety, wages, and working conditions within their supply chain.

Shein: Environmental Impact and Ethical Issues Remain a Concern

Shein has faced significant criticism for its environmental impact. Their fast fashion model, characterized by frequent new releases and low prices, often results in the production of low-quality clothing that ends up in landfills

Additionally, reports have raised concerns about the use of harmful chemicals in their products and the potential for unethical labor practices in their supply chain.

While Shein has made some efforts to address these concerns, such as launching a limited sustainable collection, their overall commitment to sustainability and ethical practices remains questionable.

The Bottom Line

While both Cider Clothing and Shein cater to the fast fashion market, their unique approaches offer distinct advantages and drawbacks, catering to various individual preferences.

Cider prioritizes high-quality materials and construction, reflected in its slightly higher price point. Their focus on unique designs and a curated selection appeals to those who value well-made and distinctive pieces. However, their limited customer service options and smaller selection compared to Shein might not suit everyone.

Shein, on the other hand, champions unbeatable prices and a vast collection across diverse styles. This makes them ideal for budget-conscious shoppers seeking a wide variety of trendy options. However, the inconsistency in quality across items necessitates careful selection, and their customer service often receives criticism regarding responsiveness and resolution effectiveness.