Amazon ranked fourth in global shopping app downloads in 2021 - they were the number one most-downloaded app in 2020. Amazon is still first in the U.S. rankings, but Shopee, Shein, and Meesho leapfrogged it in global rankings.
Shopee, first launched in Singapore in 2015, was the most downloaded shopping app globally in 2021. It serves consumers throughout Southeast and East Asia and several European and Latin American countries - for example, it was #1 in Poland and Brazil. It is fast expanding into more markets, like India.
Shein, a fast-fashion marketplace, launched in China in 2008 under the name SheInside, beat Amazon, H&M, and practically everyone else to become the connector between China’s garment factories with Western Gen-Z customers. It was the second most-downloaded app. It sells in more than 200 countries, but not in China.
Meesho, an Indian social commerce app launched in 2015, was third - it wasn’t on the radar before 2021. It provides a platform for manufacturers to sell their products to consumers and resellers who can resell them via social channels such as WhatsApp. Uniquely, it charges a 0% commission fee to sellers. It’s not a global app yet but has been the most downloaded app across all categories in India for most of 2021.
Amazon came in fourth. It dropped from first place in 2020 because the three other apps grew that much faster. The rest of the top 10 are unlikely to overtake it anytime soon. However, Amazon is also doubtful to significantly increase the number of downloads because it has been launching in increasingly smaller markets, like Egypt and Poland last year.
App downloads data from Apptopia. All data is iPhone and Android app stores combined, except for data from China which is iPhone only.
|Rank||App||Downloads in 2021|
|#10||Alibaba B2B||62M (+48%)|
In the U.S., Amazon was still number one in 2021. However, Shein or Shopify’s Shop could likely overtake it in 2022. The rest of the top 10 will not challenge it and are mostly losing downloads themselves. The list reinforces how much bigger the leading companies are than the rest. The two other U.S. companies on the global list - eBay and Wish - are on their way out. Wish was still there in 2021 but saw the largest drop in downloads out of all apps.
Shopify’s almost-marketplace Shop is notable. In 2021, it was third only to Amazon and Shein. It could easily become the most-downloaded shopping app in the U.S. in 2022 despite having only a minimal feature set. The massive user base with the app installed is a considerable asset to Shopify since it solves the marketplace bootstrapping problem.
Klarna, a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) app that combines financial services with shopping, made the top 10 in the U.S. for the first time in 2021. Late in 2021, it launched functionality that enables shopping at all online stores through the app, even if they haven’t integrated with Klarna. By evolving from a BNPL service to an entry point for shopping, its (and others in the category like Affirm and Afterpay) role in shopping increases.
|Rank||App||US Downloads in 2021|
|#3||Shop by Shopify||30M (11%)|
|#7||Fetch Rewards||15M (25%)|
Mobile commerce is more prominent in some markets, and some companies are focused on that exclusively, so the ranking of app downloads doesn’t match the relative size of each company. Despite being 4th to Shopee’s first place in downloads, Amazon transacts multiple times more GMV. Nonetheless, mobile commerce is growing faster than e-commerce as a whole. And that’s why it is essential to notice disruptive companies.
Shein is still largely unknown to anyone but their target market. Most haven’t heard of Shopee or Meesho in the U.S. because they are not active there. Then, there is also Pinduoduo in China. All of the apps in the top 10 are marketplaces, too - none are retailers; they each consist of thousands to millions of sellers.