Amazon’s Prime Now was Singapore’s highest-ranked shopping app on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play every day from launch until August 7. That’s when it was overtaken on both charts by Wish.
San Francisco-based Wish specializes in shipping low-price, no-brand goods directly from Chinese manufacturers, and leverages social media platforms like Facebook to make sales. The company has raised over US$1 billion in funding since launching in 2010; most recently, it secured US$500 million in a series F round led by Singaporean state fund Temasek Holdings. China’s JD is another shareholder.
In addition to its eponymous app, the US company is also behind similar ecommerce platforms Geek and Mama.
Interestingly, Business Insider reported in late 2015 that Amazon approached Wish with a jaw-dropping US$10 billion acquisition offer. Alibaba was also reported to have expressed interest in taking Wish under its wing.
According to Recode, Wish generally ranks second after Amazon in US app store shopping categories. In Singapore it was a lot farther behind according to app analytics firm App Annie, skyrocketing to the top of local app tables on August 6 and 7. As of today, it retains top spot in Google Play’s shopping rankings.
It has also returned to prime position in the corresponding App Store category after being briefly overtaken by Carousell and Ezbuy.
It is not clear what is behind this rapid rise. Wish is yet to respond to Tech in Asia’s request for comment, and App Annie declined to comment. Notably, App Annie data reveals that Wish also leapt up the app rankings in nearby Thailand at around the same time.
Shaking up the status quo
It is just shy of four weeks since Amazon Prime Now went live in Singapore on July 27, with the Prime Now app becoming available for download the night before.
According to App Annie, Amazon Prime Now was the most downloaded mobile app in Singapore on the App Store on the day of its official launch, with more than 2,500 downloads.
This was more than double the highest number of downloads achieved in a single day this year by peer-to-peer marketplace Carousell.
By July 30, Prime Now had been downloaded over 11,000 times in Singapore from both App Store and Android’s Google Play.
App Annie’s data is lifted from App Store’s and Google Play’s own rankings. In addition to straight-up download numbers, they’re also believed to factor in things such as uninstalls, user ratings, and usage.
The following chart shows the App Store rankings of selected apps in the shopping category in Singapore from July 26 – the day before Prime Now’s official launch in the country – to yesterday:
The next chart shows shopping app rankings for Google Play over the same time period (Google Play tracks Prime Now from July 30):
Moreover, Prime Now was Singapore’s highest-ranked free mobile app across all categories – not just shopping – on all but one of the days between its launch and August 6.
The app nosedived to seventh place in the overall national App Store rankings on August 2, before returning to the top spot on August 3 (though it retained first place in the Google rankings).
After that, it has steadily slipped down the tables. As of today, Prime Now was in 45th place in App Store’s overall rankings for Singapore, and 46th in Google Play’s marketplace.
Wish is currently the top-ranked free app overall in Singapore for Google Play, and eighth-ranked in App Store (with first place going to YouTube).
App rankings – do they really matter?
As indicated by the above charts, the entry of Prime Now had an upsetting effect on existing app rankings. Redmart and Shopee were apparently the most impacted by their competitor’s arrival on the scene, though both have since made gains.
RedMart CEO Roger Egan tells Tech in Asia that RedMart’s mobile app has consistently been one of Singapore’s top 10 shopping apps, which has been positive for the company’s brand visibility efforts.
“However, app store rankings fluctuate week-on-week depending on promotions or campaigns,” he says. “As a multi-platform business with both a website and app, looking purely at app rankings provides a narrow view and captures only a portion of our transactions.”
A Qoo10 spokesperson told Tech in Asia that despite changes in the rankings of its app, the company has not seen any related impact on its daily transactions and volume, and that it sees Amazon’s entry as a boost for the overall ecommerce market.
“We understand the importance and correlation between mobile app rankings and app downloads, and we have existing campaigns to boost app downloads,” they added. “However, this is not our main priority at the moment.”
Amazon and Shopee declined to comment on the app rankings. Lazada had not responded to Tech in Asia’s request for comment at time of writing.
The new normal
Amazon’s long-anticipated entry has been seen as a significant competitive blow to the city-state’s existing ecommerce players.
Notably, the US giant’s main Shopping app also saw a spike in Singapore downloads in the days following Prime Now’s launch – even becoming the country’s second highest ranked App Store shopping app, and fifth across all categories, for a time – despite the fact that the services it covers are not available locally yet.
Whether this was due to confusion on the part of mobile users who mistakenly thought they were downloading the Prime Now app, or genuine increased interest in Amazon’s non-Prime Now offerings, isn’t clear. Amazon has not confirmed if and when it will bring its Marketplace and other services to Singapore – though their eventual arrival seems highly likely.
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