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Wish.com has the alternative data every online retailer wishes they had

4 months ago by Jon Marino in

Wish.com ($WISH) is crushing it. 

The social-friendly, bargain-basement app that allows shoppers to participate in the equivalent of a digital flash sale is getting more attention from users, hiring more people - and although there are no reports to confirm it - certainly looks like a great candidate for an IPO in a white-hot marketplace. It's reportedly turned down multiple M&A offers, on the way to a valuation of $8.5 billion when it last raised capital in 2017. Past backers include investors like DST Global and Temasek. 

Wishing for a Bigger Team

Wish.com has grown, and continues to do so. Our first chart maps out its steady increase in headcount, as tracked by LinkedIn ($NASDAQ:MSFT) Employee Headcount - since 2018, headcount has risen more than 50% to 841, as of late June.

Our second chart tracks Wish.com job postings. And, again, it reflects that the company remains in growth mode - postings up more than 75% this year alone. Since launching in 2010, it has built out new apps like Geek, Cute, Mama, Home Design & Décor and Local - so the staff expansion and the growth in job postings matches Wish's expanding scale. 

Talk 'Em Up!

The next chart is fairly impressive for a startup with less than 10 years of history behind it, going up against well-known brands that can blow millions on holiday ad campaigns to lure hundreds of thousands of shoppers through their doors. 

Wish.com is absolutely destroying other top brick-and-mortar retailers on Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB) Talking About Count. As in: if you took Target's ($NYSE:TGT) Talking About Count, and then added Walmart's ($NYSE:WMT) Talking About Count, and then doubled them, you would still not be able to match Wish.com's Talking About Count. 

How can Wish do it? The company operates its flash sales across social platforms - so it can advertise on Facebook, make and complete a sale, and allow the user convenience to the point they barely even have to open another browser. It then makes sense that Wish's Talking About Count crushed competitors on social, but the next question is: in the long run, can it crush them on revenue? 

Traffic Jams

Yes, is the short answer to our last question. Wish's web traffic has grown at an explosive rate - for a company that's wholly dependent on e-commerce as a business model, this is crucial - and traffic to Wish has only recently begun to ebb. Our data was interrupted in February 2019, but so far the trend is very solid for a private company. 

What could slow Wish's roll? The same thing else that's on the mind of other leading executives from technology firms to toy makers: tariffs. Wish.com, according to a 2017 Forbes report, can offer consumer cut-rate prices by shipping direct from manufacturers in China. If that becomes increasingly expensive for Wish, it will for the company's customers - so Wish's wish this weekend, is probably for a fast and effective agreement to and the continuing US-China trade war.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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