Online shopping apps have never been bigger than they are right now. More and more each day are opting for the convenience of being able to shop directly from their phone, with no need to visit a store, or even open their browser.
Any retailer worth their salt today has their own shopping app. But shopping apps aren’t limited to branded apps - some of the top shopping apps today are marketplace apps, multi-brand apps, or apps that help make shopping easier, both online and in-store.
Whether you’re a consumer, looking for your online shopping fix, or a retailer looking for examples of successful apps, we’ve got you covered in our list of the best shopping apps in 2023.
Mobile Commerce/Online Shopping Market Size
The online shopping market size is estimated to be worth over $1 trillion in the US alone. This figure is only the second largest global e-commerce market - the leader is China, with e-commerce sales in this market just under $1.5 trillion.
By 2027, experts expect that e-commerce will account for 5.29 billion users worldwide, with 66.6% market penetration.
The growth of e-commerce is nothing new. What is new is the growth of m-commerce, or mobile commerce; e-commerce taking place specifically on mobile devices.
The US m-commerce market accounted for $431 billion in sales in the most recent year. Mobile commerce spending currently makes up 38% of all digital spending in the US, and over 100 billion hours are spent each year in e-commerce apps.
The m-commerce market is expected to grow by 150% within the next two years. Once upon a time, brick and mortar stores were at threat by the rise of e-commerce. Now, traditional e-commerce sites face extinction if they don’t adapt to the rise of m-commerce.
Types of Shopping Apps
Not all shopping apps are the same. The shopping app market covers a range of different types of apps, big and small, branded apps and utility apps. Let’s take a quick look at these different types of shopping apps.
Example: Amazon, eBay
Marketplace apps connect buyers and sellers of all kinds of products and services. Amazon and eBay are great examples, which offer products for sale from a large number of individual sellers and small businesses.
Because of the variety and competitive nature of sellers on online marketplaces, they typically have a wide variety of items to choose from, and offer competitive prices.
Example: Nike, Zara
Brand apps are created by individual brands to sell their own products. They often provide exclusive deals and discounts to shoppers on the app, above what’s offered to in-store customers or shoppers on their website.
Multi-Brand Retail Apps
Example: ASOS, Target
Multi-brand apps are retailers offering products from a range of different brands. All products are sold by a single retailer (unlike marketplace apps, which have many individual sellers), but there’s a wider selection of branded products available than with a single brand app.
Example: Instacart, Shipt
These are only grocery stores, right there on your mobile device. Grocery apps are not too different from multi-brand retail apps, but specialize in groceries and household essentials. They generally allow users to create digital shopping lists and order groceries online to be delivered to their door or picked up in-store.
Buy and Sell Apps
Example: Poshmark, OfferUp
These are apps that directly connect buyers and sellers in a less formal setting than with marketplace apps like Amazon. Like a digital thrift store, buy and sell apps are focused on used items, letting users sell old or unwanted items to other users.
Coupon, Deal & Cashback Apps
Example: Rakuten, Groupon, Capital One Shopping
These apps offer cashback, deals, coupons and rewards on a wide variety of products and services. They may be used in-store, on retailers’ websites, or in some cases allow shoppers to buy products on the app as well.
Most Popular Shopping Apps on iOS
There’s going to be a lot of overlap between the best shopping apps and those which are most popular on the app stores.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular shopping apps, starting with shopping apps for iPhone/iOS.
Top Shopping Apps for iOS (United States)
- Home Depot
Most Popular Shopping Apps on Android
Here are the most popular shopping apps in the Google Play Store.
Top Shopping Apps for Android (United States)
- Home Depot
- Capital One Shopping
Today’s Best Shopping Apps
Now let us take a deeper look at today’s best shopping apps.
Play Store - 4.3/5 rating, 3.35 million reviews, >500 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 7.6 million ratings
Any list of the best shopping apps has to start with Amazon. One of the biggest companies in the world, e-commerce or otherwise, Amazon gets a significant amount of their revenue today on the app, with 98 million unique users shopping on their mobile app each month, to go along with over 200 million unique monthly visitors to the Amazon site.
Amazon is the best example of a marketplace shopping app, allowing users to shop from a variety of their favorite brands, along with Amazon's own branded products.
Play Store - 4.6/5 rating, 317,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.6/5 rating, 225,400 ratings
Temu is one of two big new competitors to Amazon coming out of China. It’s currently the most popular shopping app in the US, for both iPhone and Android, selling a huge range of products, almost all at bargain prices.
Temu was launched in the US in late 2022, and is a subsidiary of a Chinese-owned company, Pinduoduo. Like Amazon, it’s a marketplace app, connecting shoppers with individual sellers and small businesses selling on the platform.
Play Store - 4.7/5 rating, 6.03 million reviews, >100 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.7/5 rating, 1 million ratings
Shein is the other big new player in the shopping app landscape, alongside Temu. It’s the 2nd most popular shopping app for iPhone and Android right now, behind Temu in both, and like Temu comes from a Chinese parent company.
Shein is a fashion retailer, which originally gained popularity in China before branching out to US and international markets. It offers a lot of cheap designer clothing, with a shorter supply chain allowing them to offer better prices than other shopping apps like Amazon.
Play Store - 4.7/5 rating, 3.5 million reviews, >50 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 8.5 million ratings
Walmart is trying to replicate Amazon’s success as a retailer-slash-marketplace. They lean heavier on the retailer side, but they also have a thriving marketplace of third-party sellers.
Originally known for their physical retail stores, Walmart today has a strong digital presence, which includes their online shopping platform, which is one of the top 5 most downloaded apps in both the iOS and Google Play stores in the US.
Play Store - 4.9/5 rating, 1.29 million reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.9/5 rating, 4.6 million ratings
Etsy is a marketplace shopping app focused on authentic, hand-crafted and/or vintage goods. You can buy a range of unique, original products on Etsy from individual, third-party sellers, with these sellers being largely independent sellers, rather than the more commercial type of seller found on marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart.
Play Store - 4.5/5 rating, 470,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 4.1 million ratings
Shop is the consumer-facing app for Shopify, one of the world’s top e-commerce platforms today.
Though primarily known for being the backend platform of independent online stores, the Shop app is a way for shoppers to browse and buy from a range of brands that use Shopify. It includes order updates, exclusive offers and discounts, and the ability to earn Shop cash which can be spent in the app.
Play Store - 4.5/5 rating, 735,000 reviews, >50 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.9/5 rating, 1.7 million ratings
Nike is one of the world’s most recognizable brands, and is also one of the most popular shopping apps in the world, with more than 50 million downloads on the Google Play Store alone. The app offers more than just the full range of Nike products - it has exclusive benefits and rewards, content, personalized product recommendations and tools that help you find the perfect pair of shoes.
Play Store - 4.8/5 rating, 474,000 reviews, >50 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 229,100 ratings
Zara is another popular fashion brand that’s branched out to offer their own branded shopping app. Like Nike, their app is wildly popular, with tens of millions of downloads and a near-perfect rating on both app stores.
Play Store - 4.4/5 rating, 534,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.9/5 rating, 432,200 ratings
ASOS is a fashion shopping app featuring 850 top fashion brands. Along with their e-commerce website, the ASOS app offers a smooth and easy shopping experience for their dedicated and loyal customers.
Play Store - 4.3/5 rating, 241,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 3.1 million ratings
Instacart is one of the most popular grocery apps today. Instacart’s tens of millions of users can shop from over 1,000 retailers, who primarily come for fast and efficient online grocery shopping. It allows users to get grocery items, delivered to their door, or offers the option to pick up in-store.
Play Store - 4.7/5 rating, 146,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 676,400 ratings
Poshmark is a social marketplace allowing users to buy and sell fashion items, home decor, beauty products and more. Alongside used items, Poshmark users can shop for new items from over 9,000 brands, in any size and style.
Play Store - 4.4/5 rating, 1.14 million reviews, >50 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 4.2 million ratings
OfferUp is another popular buying and selling marketplace, letting users both buy and sell items like furniture and clothing they no longer need. It’s extremely quick and easy to list products for sale on the platform, and also lets shoppers browse by location to find exclusive deals nearby them.
Play Store - 3.9/5 rating, 71,100 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 358,400 ratings
Rakuten is a cashback and discount app. When you shop with 3,500 partnered retailers, either online or in-store, you use the Rakuten app to save money and find the best coupons and discounts, as well as earning up to 10% cash back on your purchases.
Play Store - 4.5/5 rating, 672,000 reviews, >10 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 8,200 ratings
Stocard is a mobile wallet which lets you condense all your loyalty cards and coupons for individual stores into one app. It’s one of the best examples of how shopping apps can be used to make the physical retail experience more efficient and enjoyable.
Play Store - 4.6/5 rating, 1.68 million reviews, >100 million downloads
Apple App Store - 4.8/5 rating, 444,100 ratings
With more than 100 million downloads just on Google Play, Groupon is undoubtedly one of the best shopping apps we have today. It’s an amazing way to find great deals from retailers, restaurants, services, experiences and just about anything, with the ability to filter by your location to find the best deals near you.
Why You Should Launch Your Own Shopping App
With every major brand or retailer today having their own app, there must be something to be said about the benefits of shopping apps.
Branded shopping apps give brands and retailers a closer connection with their customers, and lead to higher sales and profit.
For retailers, the benefits of shopping apps (compared to physical retail or shopping on mobile websites) include:
- Improved customer engagement metrics, such as conversion rates, time spent in store and products viewed.
- More return visits and repeat customers.
- A direct line to your customers via push notifications.
- A better, more convenient shopping experience.
- App store listings, which provide a powerful acquisition channel and increased trust signals.
With a shopping app, you have an audience you control, with customers who are likely to spend more with you, and buy more often.
How Any Brand Can Launch a Shopping App
Think that a branded shopping app is something only heavyweights like Nike and Zara can do? Think again.
MobiLoud makes it easy and affordable for all online stores to launch their own branded apps. Assuming you already have an e-commerce website, and it’s optimized for mobile visitors (which all websites today should be), you’ll be able to go live with Android and iOS apps in as little as two weeks.
MobiLoud converts your existing, mobile-optimized website into mobile apps, adding a few key mobile features, such as native navigation and tabs and native push notifications.
All the coding is done for you - essentially all you need to do is test it and give the ok.
Along with being the easiest way to convert your e-commerce site into apps, it’s the cheapest. A native app can generally be expected to cost mid-5 figures, at least, for each platform (Android/iOS). MobiLoud costs a fraction of that, while also saving you tens of thousands (at least) per year in upkeep.
and John Varvatos:
"We tried a handful of different options to build an app, including reaching out to countless freelancers. None provided us with the ease and accessibility that MobiLoud provided to our team."
- Nick Barbarise, John Varvatos
To explore how you can launch your own shopping app, get in touch with us for a personalized demo. We’ll show you a working prototype of your site as an app and show you how easy the process is to develop your app with MobiLoud.