Despite declining e-commerce revenues in 2022, downloads for mobile commerce apps like Amazon, SHEIN, and Walmart remain strong in the United States.
Online retail and e-commerce has slowed in recent months. According to Forbes, American consumers spent $77.8 billion online in April, down $5.28 billion from the March total. That’s a month-over-month drop of 6.8%.
Likewise, global online sales dropped 3% in the first quarter of 2022. And in Europe, things were actually worse, with online sales slumping a whopping 13%.
These numbers are obviously the result of a variety of complex factors. However, inflation and slackened COVID-19 restrictions figure prominently in most analyses.
That said, to see if declining e-commerce revenues coincided with declines in mobile commerce app performance, we used the App Watchlist to check in on the three most popular mobile commerce apps in the United States — Amazon, SHEIN, and Walmart.
Here’s what we found…
Globally, Only the iOS Version of Walmart is Trending Upwards…
Of the three most popular mobile commerce apps in the United States, Walmart is easily the least popular globally. This isn’t surprising, as Walmart is a very American brand with few locations outside of the States. Nevertheless, the iOS version of the Walmart shopping app is the only app currently trending upwards. Over the last 30 days it has pulled in some 3.6 million downloads globally.
That said, the iOS version of SHEIN (24 million downloads) and the Android version of Amazon (7.3 million downloads) remained stable in the same time frame. The Android version of SHEIN (14.4 million downloads), iOS version of Amazon (10.3 million downloads), and Android version of Walmart (577,300 downloads) all shrunk.
Amazon Still Leads in the United States…
Next up, let’s look more closely at how these apps performed in the United States in 2022, year to date. First, the Android apps…
As you can see, Amazon, SHEIN, and Wamart have combined for 26,743,979 Google Play downloads thus far in 2022, with Amazon leading the way at 12,587,183. Moreover, while Amazon’s downloads dipped occasionally (from March 22nd to March 27th, for instance), they typically remained in the 100,000 - 200,000 range per day.
Next up, the iOS apps…
This chart tells a similar story. The three apps have tallied a combined 73,507,151 App Store downloads in 2022, with Amazon once again leading the way at 27,713,873. In addition, downloads for all three apps have been remarkably steady (and strong) throughout the year. Only Walmart appears to have wavered, but even there, they seem to be back on an upswing.
Combining downloads from both platforms, here’s how each app has performed in 2022:
- Amazon: 40,301,056 downloads
- Shein: 35,725,309 downloads
- Walmart: 24,224,765 downloads
U.S. Usage Numbers on the Rise…
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that despite the e-commerce industry’s struggles, usage numbers for Amazon, SHEIN, and Walmart appear to be on the rise in the United States. This is particularly true among the Android apps, where monthly active users (MAU) have grown significantly since April 2021. Check it out…
Amazon’s Android Monthly Active Users (April 2021 - April 2022)
SHEIN’s Android Monthly Active Users (April 2021 - April 2022)
Walmart’s Android Monthly Active Users (April 2021 - April 2022)
Based on our analysis, it doesn’t appear that the leading mobile commerce apps are losing much ground in the United States. Downloads are strong, usage is up, and 30-day global trends don’t seem to be indicative of much in the U.S. particularly.
However, all this can remain true despite declining sales and revenues in the e-commerce and online retail space. That usage remains high tells us very little about how much consumers are actually buying once they open the app.
Still, solid mobile commerce usage numbers in the context of declining revenues is an interesting phenomena. It indicates that external factors — and not declining quality or increased competition among e-commerce businesses — may be driving changes in consumer behavior.