Shein, Shopee and Meesho overtook Amazon in 2021

  • Shopee, Shein and Meesho were the most downloaded e-commerce apps globally in 2021.
  • E-commerce giant Amazon came in fourth place in shopping app installations worldwide last year.
  • Amazon is however still first in US’ rankings for shopping app instals in 2021.

For many years, when it comes to e-commerce, there has been one undisputed leader — Amazon. However, as consumers began changing their buying behaviour, newer brands began to pop up to upend the online shopping juggernaut. Take Shein for instance, the Chinese company that only recently took the world by a storm for its ultra fast fashion approach has overthrown Amazon, topping the chart as one of the most downloaded shopping apps in the world in 2021.

In fact, Shein is not the only one. According to the newest data from Apptopia, two other e-commerce companies leapfrogged Amazon in the global rankings: Shopee, based in Singapore, which serves Southeast Asia and Latin America; and Meesho, based in India, which specializes in social e-commerce for categories including fashion and home products.

All data is iOS + Google Play combined, except for data from China which is iOS only. Source: Apptopia

The US e-commerce giant came in fourth place overall in global shopping app installation last year. Just the year before, Amazon had the most app installs worldwide. It is fair to note though that Amazon is still first in Apptopia’s US rankings for shopping app installs in 2021. This is given considering data from Statista that shows the Seattle-based company holds 41% of the US e-commerce market in 2021.

Singapore-based Shopee came in first with a total 203 million downloads while China-based Shein came in second with 190 million downloads and the company has been a growing force in the fast fashion market. India-based Meesho took the third spot with 153 million downloads.

Amazon, Shein, Shopee vs social commerce

At this point, online is growing at a torrid pace. New data from fintech and payments research specialists Kaleido Intelligence has found that B2B and B2C e-commerce spend on physical goods and digital services will reach US$6 trillion this year, up from US$4.8 trillion in 2020. 

But it is shopping on social media platforms that will top the chart as it is currently growing three times faster than traditional e-commerce platforms. In fact, it is on pace to reach US$1.2 trillion globally by 2025, according to a study by Accenture. Most of that growth (62%) will be driven by Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

“The social commerce opportunity will nearly triple by 2025. Growing at a CAGR of 26%, the social commerce opportunity will reach $1.2 trillion by 2025. This accounts for 16.7% of the US$7 trillion e-commerce total spend,” Accenture said in a separate report.

The report also believes that China will remain the most advanced market both in size and maturity, yet the highest growth will be seen in developing markets such as India and Brazil. As for the US, social commerce is expected to more than double, reaching US$99 billion by 2025.

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