Clash of Apps: Amazon Shopping vs Shopee vs Shop vs SHEIN

In this edition of Clash of Apps, we analyze the success behind Amazon Shopping, one of the most downloaded apps in 2021, and its closest competitors.

Melisa Rocío Fernández

March 11, 2022

Welcome to our new content series: Clash of Apps, where we analyze some of the top mobile apps in the world to better understand: 

  • What are the top apps across each industry vertical?
  • How are the top apps driving installs and engagement?
  • Which mobile marketing strategies should app advertisers test to drive success?

Let's get started! 🏁

The state of Shopping apps today

The pandemic created new shopping habits that have not only remained but continued to accelerate. In 2021, consumers spent over 100 billion hours on Shopping apps, 18% more than in 2020 [1]. This year, we expect consumers to make more sales, more often.

industry analysis of key shopping apps

Key players to watch this year

comparative chart between amazon shopping, shopee, shein,and shop

The four companies are e-commerce giants operating mainly without physical stores—except for Amazon stores and some specific initiatives like Shopee’s pop-up shop. Amazon Shopping, Shopee, and Shein are online stores, the first two offering a diverse range of product categories and the latter focusing only on fashion and apparel. Shop is an online shopping assistant that allows users to purchase products from stores created with Shopify’s platform.

Global vs Regional Reach

  • Amazon Shopping had been dominating the global performance rankings 🌎 for Shopping apps in the past years. In 2021, we saw Asian apps like Shopee and SHEIN gain millions of followers, stealing the top of the ranking from Amazon, which currently sits at #4.  
  • While Amazon Shopping is still king in the US 🇺🇸, Shopify’s Shop app (formerly called Arrive) has been gaining traction. Taking a slice of Amazon’s market, Shop became the third most downloaded Shopping app in the US. 
  • With a strong presence overseas, Shopee and SHEIN were also the most downloaded apps in Latin America in 2021, with Amazon ranking #8 in the region.

Marketing strategy overview

  • Shopee has focused on offering incentives to drive repeated purchases, leveraging free vouchers for new users, discounted prices, and free delivery together with marketing campaigns featuring influencers. 
  • SHEIN has been attracting new users through social media channels like TikTok and YouTube. Their social media strategy heavily relies on influencers and content creators to increase brand awareness through hauls, deals, and coupons. This fast-fashion brand also collaborates with online finance platforms like banks, offering free credit and discounts to encourage bulk buying.
  • Amazon Shopping has been shifting its desktop traffic to mobile while at the same time encouraging more purchases through in-app benefits like free shipping and a variety of online marketing channels, from email marketing to programmatic campaigns. 
  • Shop: similar to Amazon, Shopify's Shop has been focusing on taking “desktop” consumers to their app, and giving it further visibility by featuring Shop mentions in post-purchase emails.

challenges and opportunities for shopping apps in 2022

1️⃣ Shifting traffic from desktop to mobile

The team behind Amazon Shopping promotes incentives that encourage users to switch to the app, stating that: “Whether you’re buying gifts, reading reviews, tracking orders, scanning products, or just shopping, the Amazon Shopping app offers more benefits than shopping on Amazon via your desktop.”

👉 How can Shopping advertisers drive more in-app sales? One of the strategies implemented by the leading Shopping apps is offering discounts or credit only when purchasing on the app. Last year, Amazon gifted users $20 in credit when making an in-app purchase for the first time—and even offered another $20 for making a second purchase.



2️⃣ Understanding the limitations of social media

Social media has allowed brands like SHEIN to grow through influencers and content creators—but this channel has its limitations:

  • Not all users are on social: social media channels have a limited scale—not all people are tapping into social media apps like TikTok, and those who are might not convert upon seeing an ad. This means that marketers that only rely on social media are bound to hit a ceiling in terms of growth. 
  • Most social media platforms aren’t ready for SKAN: while TikTok supports SKAN, Facebook and Snap Ads are some examples of the social platforms that still haven’t fully transitioned to ATT (see point 4 below).
 👉 How can advertisers grow in spite of social media’s limitations? By testing other mobile marketing channels running programmatic advertising, such as mobile DSPs. With programmatic, mobile marketers can reach every corner of the app ecosystem. At Jampp alone, we’re tapping into data from over +120B ad requests and +800M mobile users each day. We are also fully integrated with MMP partners, working together since day 1 to support customers on iOS 14.5+ campaigns.


3️⃣ Maximizing user retention

After attracting new users, keeping them engaged can be challenging (in Shopping apps, over 95% of new users churn by day 30) [2]. We're seeing different scenarios across the different players:

mobile marketing performance comparison of amazon shopping, shein and shopify
Apptopia, 2022
  • Apps who are maximizing user retention: while Amazon Shopping's installs fell abruptly after Black Friday & Cyber Monday, their Daily Active Users (DAU) continue to grow. This indicates that Amazon acquired new users in the November shopping season and has managed to retain them since then.
  • Advertisers with the potential to retain more users: after a dramatic fall at the end of December, SHEIN’s downloads took off at the beginning of January. Even if SHEIN’s DAUs reflect part of that growth, there’s still a gap between the acquired users and active users.
  • Advertisers who struggle with churning: similar to Amazon Shopping, Shop’s installs decreased at the end of the December shopping season—but in this case, active users seem to be on a downward trend, which could indicate that user retention remains a challenge for the Canadian app.
👉 How can Shopping advertisers encourage user retention? By leveraging App Retargeting to re-activate customers, and encourage them to make more in-app purchases, more often. This growth solution drives 50% more paying users and represents 63% of Shopping app conversions [3]. 

Check out this article for more information and best practices on App Retargeting.




4️⃣ Driving sales on iOS 14.5+

​​Amazon accounted for 41% of the US Ecommerce market in 2021 [4]—but even as the leading company in an iOS-predominant region, Amazon Shopping’s DAUs show that Google Play represents a much bigger share than that of iOS. Shop users, on the other hand, show a more even split between the two operating systems.

 

share of daily active users across amazon shopping and shopify shop app

These metrics prove that even giants like Amazon might not have figured out ATT yet, so there’s still a lot of room for growth on iOS. After Apple implemented its new ATT framework last year, acquiring and engaging new users on iOS became much more challenging… but advertisers in the Shopping industry are already testing SKAN and driving success.

👉 How can Shopping advertisers track users in the post-IDFA era? As IDFA availability keeps decreasing and SKAdNetwork adoption grows, the best strategy is to ally with a partner that can offer support from setup to optimization and start testing SKAN as soon as possible

You can learn more about how we’ve been helping our partners achieve incremental performance in SKAN campaigns in this article 😉. 

About Jampp

Jampp is a programmatic advertising platform used by the most ambitious companies to accelerate their mobile businesses. Jampp leverages machine learning to drive incremental growth for its customers, whether that means reaching new users or increasing post-install conversions. 

Grow your Commerce app with Jampp

Jampp can help you scale your offers to acquire new customers and drive incremental sales, even in the post-IDFA era. For more insights on how Jampp works for Commerce apps, visit our website or contact us to talk to one of our sales reps.

References

[1] App Annie, 2022; [2] AppsFlyer, 2021; [3] AppsFlyer, 2020; [4] Statista, 2021