When Jet.com sold to Walmart in 2016, commentators remarked that there was no space for new ecommerce, in a market with Amazon and eBay.
Two years later, ecommerce platform Wish was the most downloaded shopping application worldwide, and the third largest e-commerce marketplace in the United States.
Wish was originally founded as wishlist app, in which users could create lists of their favourite products. To help monetise the site, Wish added a similar products feature and began partnering with merchants to sell on the platform.
It wasn’t long before the sales from partnered merchants far outpaced the pay-per-click advertising model. In 2013, it relaunched the site as an ecommerce platform.
Even from the start, Wish was known for its cheap prices and knock-off goods. It ran a direct-to-consumer model, meaning it had limited control over the supply and quality of the items being delivered.
This has led to accusations of poor quality and counterfeit goods, which Wish has been unable to refute in the past. It has in recent years deployed some quality control systems, although not anywhere close to Amazon or eBay.
Anyone that has used Wish will know deals are part of the app’s DNA. Some items are on sale for a supposed 98 percent of the original value, although it’s hard to verify if it was ever on Wish for the original price.
Wish also provides a lot of freebies and coupons to users, often offering an item for free as long as the customer pays shipping. Users are entered into prize draws and daily deals.
While Wish still has a certain stigma attached to it, it draws in a considerable crowd. Over 90 million people use the platform every month, and revenue in 2019 surpassed $2 billion.
Over 300 million items are available on the Wish store, the majority of which are from China. This has led to some issues as US-China relations have fractured under the Trump Administration. A recent bill added heavier import charges to Chinese-made goods, hurting a lot of Wish merchants.
Amazon has for over a decade built a delivery platform so sophisticated it can reach anyone in less than two days, on Wish, customers typically wait over two weeks for their package to arrive. What sounds inconceivable is actually a smart piece of business. Not every package needs to arrive in a day and Wish has built an ecosystem of items people want, not need.
The app lends itself well to scrolling, like a social network, far different to Amazon where the customer usually searches for a specific item.
Wish is not close to Amazon’s revenue and CEO Piotr Szulczewski’s ambition to be the “second or third trillion dollar a year marketplace” is still far away from reality, but it has brought a new dimension to shopping online, one that Amazon has somewhat copied with its Prime Day.
Where does Wish go from here? The company quietly filed for an IPO in September and may debut in early 2021. It’s an interesting time to IPO, considering the US-China issue.
Wish may look in the near future to copy some of Pinduoduo’s features, which run a similar direct-to-consumer platform in China. Pinduoduo’s most popular feature is team buy, which allows multiple people to buy an item and receive it for cheap. This has not been trialled in the US, and fits with Wish’s core brand.
We have collected data and statistics on Wish revenue, profit and usage. Read on below to find out more.
|Launch date||4 July 2010|
|HQ||San Francisco, California|
|People||Piotr Szulczewski (CEO), Rajat Bahri (CFO), Danny Zhang (co-founder)|
|Business type||Private (IPO expected in 2021)|
Note: Wish has never reported a profit. In 2017, Pitchbook said the company is not currently profitable and in 2019 it told Forbes it had lost $100 million in 2019.
Wish Monthly Active Users
Wish other key stats
- There are over 300 million items available on Wish (Indigo Digital)
- A third of Wish’s total order volume comes from the United States (Forbes)
- It is the fourth largest online marketplace in the US by sales volume
- Wish was the most downloaded shopping app in the world in 2018 (Forbes)
- Wish sells about three million items daily
- It doubled its revenue between 2018 and 2019, from $1 billion to $1.9 billion (Forbes)
- Wish main demographic is young and middle class (Cnet)
- Wish sponsorship of the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly costs between $38 and $42 million per year (Recode)