Are overseas shipping apps stealing share from off-pricers in the U.S.?
Overseas shipping apps such as Wish and SheIn offer unique products at rock bottom prices. Although both apps specialize in cheaply-manufactured versions of popular brand name products, their popularity has skyrocketed in the past two years.
Market analysts are already predicting that Wish is going to give retailers a run for their money. In fact, Forbes reports that e-commerce app Wish, which specializes in shipping products manufactured in China, already has a pre-market valuation of over $8.5 billion — meaning it’s already worth as much as Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Sears combined.
The rival shipping platform site, SheIn, boasts “over 200 new arrivals daily.” SheIn ships to 80 countries around the world from a batch of global warehouses, according to its website. However, Refinery 29 reports that SheIn is in actuality based in China.
Wish hosts many products sold for $0 and up while SheIn’s prices start at $1.99. This begs the question of how these overseas shippers are making margins when they’re ponying up to ship these “free” or nearly free products to U.S. customers. In the case of Wish, the answer is hidden within the recesses of product review sites and online discussions.
Mobile consumers have stated concerns that the “free” and low-priced items on the Wish app tend to have significantly higher shipping prices. In fact, by following the same product and shipping prices for a few weeks one may notice that, no matter what the list price may be at a given time, the customer ends up paying the exact same amount between the combination of the ticket price and shipping costs.
Furthermore, since Wish and SheIn specialize in polyester knockoffs of popular styles, they often swipe product images from the websites of fashion blogs or photography sites. As a result, consumers regularly find they receive an entirely different product than the one they paid for on the app. Yet despite all the flaws, Americans can’t seem to resist the cheap fast-fashion that these apps provide.
Whether apps such as Wish and SheIn will bring about the decline of American off-pricers is up for debate. CNBC recently reported that off-price sector sales from retail darlings TJX and Burlington are beginning to decline with some analysts questioning the discount sector’s future. Wells Fargo analyst Ike Boruchow, per CNBC, told clients that “TJX, Ross Stores and Burlington could see lower sales in the fourth quarter and into fiscal 2018.”
- At 8.5 Billion, Shopping App “Wish” Is Now Worth More than Sears, Macy’s and JC Penney Combined – Forbes
- Here’s What Happened When We Bought Clothes from These Sketchy Online Sites – Refinery 29
- The Off-Price Sector, Long Retail’s Favorite, Could Be Losing Steam In 2018 – CNBC
- About Us – SheIn
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What short- and long-term impact on the American off-price retail market do you see coming from overseas shopping apps such as Wish and SheIn? Will product quality discrepancies and lack of shipping price transparency undermine the popularity of these apps?