What Is the Wish App?

Discover the cheap online shopping app that discount buyers are using

A woman windows shopping with a wishful look on her face.

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The Wish app is one of the most hyped cheap shopping apps around. Available on the desktop as well as for AndroidiPhone, Windows Phone, this e-commerce app has garnered attention from customers due to its advertisements of dramatically slashed prices, and from publications such as Forbes for its valuation of $8.5 billion and funding round of $250 million. In light of all the buzz, you might be wondering if the Wish app is legit, or at the very least how it works. Keep reading for more info on both fronts.

How the Wish App Works

To get started with Wish, you need to register for an account using your Facebook login, your Gmail login or by creating a new login with your email. 

Once you've done that, you'll be able to browse the available deals. You can browse by category (Accessories, Baby & Kids, Fashion, Gadgets, Hobbies, Home Decor, Phone Upgrades and more), and there's even a Made for You Section that includes T-shirts and mugs customized with your name.

How Can Wish Offer Items So Cheaply?

If you browse the available products on Wish, you'll quickly note that it advertises some almost unbelievable discounts. For example, a pair of women's boots is listed as being marked down from $181 to $18. However, Wish doesn't list any brand information or other specifics for this product or for countless others on its site, so it's not possible to verify that you're really receiving such a huge discount.

That leads us to one important thing to note about Wish: It ships products directly from manufacturers in China and other countries in Asia, which explains why it's able to keep prices so low. That means, in general, you shouldn't expect the same level of quality you'd get when paying top dollar.

What to Expect

You can definitely expect to find deeply discounted prices when shopping via the Wish app. A pair of Bluetooth headphones is listed as being marked down from $64 to $13, while 2TB USB drives are listed as being marked down from $11 to $190. For all the products available for purchase on Wish, you'll be able to see approximately how many people have purchased them, rounded to the nearest thousand. For example, a Bluetooth smartwatch listed for $9 was apparently purchased by 20,000+ customers. You'll find plenty of cheap, trendy clothes as well, such as track pants going for $13 marked down from $140.

Once you decide you want to purchase an item, add it to your cart. Wish will actually typically display a slightly lower price once you add an item to your card (think $8.55 rather than $9).

Shipping prices vary depending on the item but are usually less than $10. Still, as you'll see in the section below, shipping times can be on the long side.

Note that you can customize how many notifications you receive from Wish. By default, you'll get plenty of emails, for product recommendations, deal roundups and more. 

Tips to Keep in Mind When Using the Wish App

Wish is an awesome app for finding great deals, but there are a few points you should keep in mind when using the app.

  • It displays your real name publicly for product lists, so beware: This is one one of the most important things to keep in mind when using the Wish app. As Buzzfeed reported, the app displays the full names of customers on their profiles along with their wish lists. So don't assume that your wish list is private – and maybe refrain from creating wish lists and reviewing items on Wish entirely. All this said, it doesn't appear that the Wish app sells information that identifies you as an individual to third parties.
  • Shipping times vary widely: Reviews of the Wish app make it clear that you shouldn't expect your items to arrive in a timely fashion. Some users report it taking longer than a month to receive a product, while other items can arrive in a matter of days. In short, it seems to be all over the place.
  • Read the product details: The deeply discounted prices may make a bit more sense when you inspect the specifics of the product you're ordering. The items you can purchase through Wish generally aren't of the top-shelf variety, and it appears that the original prices listed could be comparing the items to brand-name options.


    Wish may be one of the most hyped apps in its category, but it's certainly not the only option. Here are a few others you might want to consider:

    • AliExpress – Available for Android and iOS, this app lets you shop products from a wide variety of vendors in China and beyond. Like Wish, it has a strong focus on cheap products. One advantage is that it offers free shipping on the majority of orders.
    • Hollar – This is a good one to check out if you want to browse products across a wide variety of categories, from holiday-specific products to clothing to tech to beauty. It's available for Android and iOS, and advertises discounts of 50-90%.
    • Zulily – If you're specifically shopping for women's, kids' or maternity clothing (or home goods), this app for Android and iOS is worth a look. It features daily deals along with app-only offers and early access to sales via the app.