The decline of Wish?

Wish has reported disappointing financial data for Q2 2021. Is this the end for the online marketplace known for its low-priced products? Find out from our article.

It seems that the allure of low prices paired with bad quality is coming to an end, at least that’s what Wish’s latest figures show. Is this the beginning of the end for the notoriously trashy marketplace?

Wish it was better

Wish has published its financial data for the second quarter of 2021. The marketplace, which has recently gone public, seems to be struggling despite the boost that many online marketplaces had received due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The marketplace declared a total revenue of $656 million, down by 6% from the same period of 2020. From this figure, $378 million is the core marketplace revenue, which suffered an even bigger, 32% decline. Logistics revenue, however, showed a strong growth by 126% to $228 million. Similarly, the figures of Wish’s in-platform advertising, ProductBoost, rose by 11% to $50 million.

All this resulted in a total loss of $111 million, which is ten-times the loss ($11 million) of what Wish experienced in the second quarter of 2020.

What happened?

According to the quarterly report, Wish believes the disappointing figures can be attributed to several factors.

It was an uphill battle

Comparing today to the second quarter of 2020 can produce undesirable results for online marketplaces. During last year, the COVID-restrictions had just hit the world, meaning that people were turning to e-Commerce as a solution to all their shopping needs.

This year, however, restrictions were eased all over the world during that very same period of time, which caused many people to leave their homes and enjoy shopping in physical stores again.

Advertising costs were rising

Wish has used digital advertising platforms and social media to drive demand and attract new clients. However, the price of this rose, and due to the privacy changes introduced by Apple on iOS devices, many advertisers flocked to Android platforms, which intensified competition and further drove up the price.

Customer retention dropped

As the quarterly report stresses, Wish “expected user retention to improve now that we have more reliable logistics, but instead retention declined.” The document offers no insight into why retention dropped. (Probably due to customers getting tired of receiving bad quality products that don’t exactly resemble the ones advertised? Just an educated guess.)

Instead, Wish focuses on the future and explains a strategy that aims to turn the downward trends around.

The way forward

Wish presented a three-part plan to its shareholders that, according to them, “will improve the user experience and increase retention.”

1, Enhancing product quality and selection

The shopping app famous for its bad quality, cheap products wants to break free from this stereotype and offer better goods. Apparently, product quality is the number one reason why Wish customers contact client services. (What a surprise.)

This is good news: the app has finally taken notice of the problem brand protection experts have been talking about for years and address the main issue with the platform: the quality of its goods. As our two part case study on our Wish test purchase showed, this is a serious concern and we’re glad the marketplace has recognized the problem.

Wish aims to introduce a quality scoring system that should ensure that the highest rated merchants and products have a better chance of appearing on consumers’ screens. This should incentivize sellers to stop cheating their customers and be honest about what they can expect from their purchase.

Screenshot of a wish.com listing of a women’s top
Screenshot of a wish.com listing of a women’s top

For example, although we haven’t purchased this shirt so we can’t be 100% certain, the badly photoshopped image speaks volumes of the product that is almost sure to disappoint.

In addition, Wish wants to introduce globally recognized brands to the platform to drive customer retention and acquisition. Let’s hope that this introduction won’t come in the form of grey market products.

2, Fun shopping experience

Using the platform’s existing features, Wish wants to tweak its data science to ensure a “more engaging, personalized, and discovery-based online shopping experience.” In order to achieve that, Wish wants to emphasize its social commerce features and invest in new perks like video reviews and live-streaming shopping events.

3, Improving app performance

The third pillar of Wish’s recovery plan is improving the performance of the app itself. As the platform prides itself on its innovative technology, quite a number of tests have taken place in the past year to advance it. However, this also meant that sometimes the speed of the app was slowed down, much to the dissatisfaction of customers.

In the future, Wish promises to balance user experience with the need for testing and will try to refrain from procedures that slow down the app during peak hours.

Will that be enough?

We can’t say that the majority of Wish’s customers are extremely satisfied with the app. In fact, the platform’s approval rating is between2.75 (out of 5, on sitejabber) and 3.6 (out of 5, on Trustpilot.) This indicates that customers tend to be rather dissatisfied with their purchases and the Wish app in general.

Coming back from this is not going to be easy. Especially if Wish wants to change the one thing they’re known for: cheap, bad quality products.

Sure, there are some types of purchases where customers don’t mind this. For example, fun party decorations or costumes for that one 1980s themed party you’re throwing next month. Or random toys your kids would grow tired of even sooner than they could break.

Screenshot of a wish.com listing offering cheap children’s toys
Screenshot of a wish.com listing offering cheap children’s toys

But many customers must have realized by now that if they want durable, good quality items to be used for a long time, Wish is probably not the best marketplace to start the search. Whether Wish will be able to overcome this problem and become a successful marketplace again remains to be seen.


As online brand protection experts, we at globaleyez are happy to hear that Wish wants to step away from promoting bad quality, possibly even counterfeited products. We sincerely hope that this change of strategy would end the flood of IP-infringing products we’ve encountered on (and had to remove from) the platform.

Until that happens (if at all...), your brand could be in serious danger from grey marketers, fraudsters, and any other IP-infringing sellers on the platform. If you wish to avoid that, contact us and let us show you how we can eliminate those threats.

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