Global Mobile Shopping Apps 2021: SHEIN Is Winning Hearts [REPORT]

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The Covid-19 pandemic prompted a sea change in consumer behavior, with record numbers of people turning to mobile and apps to do their daily shopping, hunt bargains, and collect digital coupons.

The Mobile Shopping Apps 2021 report by AppAnnie reveals the growth of mobile shopping apps by downloads and time spent across all major markets. And how the mobile-first shopping habits replaced in-store purchases.

  1. The mobile retail boom is showing no signs of slowing down as the global time spent in shopping apps on Android phones grew 49% YoY in Q1 2021.
  2. By May 2021, Android shoppers spent an average of 2 billion hours per week on shopping apps, up 51% from pre-pandemic levels.
  3. Indonesia topped the list of top 15 countries in terms of annual rise in time spent using shopping apps on Android phones. The country witnessed a whopping 87% YoY growth in mobile shopping app usage.
  4. However, India ranked first among 15 major countries in Q1 2021, with 1.6 billion hours spent in shopping apps on Android phones.
  5. Digital-first shopping apps seem to drive better engagement than P2P Marketplace and Bricks & Clicks. India’s Flipkart, Amazon, Ajio, Myntra, and JioMart are among the world’s top 10 breakout shopping apps by downloads across iOS and Google Play between June 2020 and May 2021.
  6. In 2020, time spent in SHEIN shopping app on Android phones has skyrocketed across APAC, EMEA, AMER regions. And this trend continues in 2021 as well.
  7. Interestingly, the global downloads of SHEIN app grew 12% YoY to reach 40.1 million in Q2 2021. While the number of SHEIN monthly active users increased 24% to 71 million.
  8. SHEIN, as a mobile-first retailer, leverages ‘influencer’ style product placements in images, allows for outfit ‘likes,’ and encourages shoppers to submit user-generated content to target young females.
  9. Approximately 96 percent of SHEIN users in the Americas are female. While 61% of users were between the ages of 16 and 24.
  10. SHEIN has emerged as the most popular mobile shopping app in the US. Surprisingly, the SHEIN android app usage increased an astonishing +215% during the last 12 months, totalling 22.9 monthly million hours.
  11. Between June 2020 and May 2021, SHEIN android app engagement grew  +170% YoY in Mexico, +490% in the UK, +530% YoY in France and +550% YoY in Canada.
  12. The average order value (AOV) and average spend have been increasing since last one year. In June 2021, the global mobile user spent $88 every time he or she ordered from a shopping app, up 22% YoY.

Food For Thought

People are spending more time on their smartphones than ever before, particularly on shopping apps. This trend began after the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed across all major markets. Generation Z and millennials have seen spending more time in shopping apps, with particular concentration on apparel and footwear sections. Therefore, all global retailers such as Flipkart, Amazon, Jio, Shein, Alibaba, etc. are trying to gain a sizable market share by attracting more customers. The social media giant Facebook has added a “Carts” feature to its messaging platform WhatsApp to make in-app shopping easier for all its users.


It would be interesting to see if this mobile shopping trend continues post-pandemic.


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