What Is the Wish App?

Discover the discount online shopping app

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

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The Wish app is one of the most hyped shopping apps around. Available on the desktop as well as for Androids and iPhones, this e-commerce app has garnered attention from customers due to its dramatically slashed prices. Notable, too, is attention from publications such as Forbes for the company's valuation and funding. In light of all the buzz, you might be curious as to whether the Wish app is legit and how it works.

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 with a new login you create with your email address.

Once you've done that, you'll be able to browse the available deals by category (Accessories, Baby & Kids, Fashion, Gadgets, Hobbies, Home Decor, Phone Upgrades, and more). There's even a Made for You Section that includes T-shirts and mugs that can be 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 you can't really verify that you're receiving such a huge discount.

That leads 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. In general, you shouldn't expect the same level of quality you'd get when paying top dollar.

What to Expect

You'll certainly find deeply discounted prices when shopping via the Wish app. For all the products available for purchase on Wish, you'll be able to see approximately how many people have purchased each, rounded to the nearest thousand. For example, a Bluetooth smartwatch might be listed for $9 and as having been purchased by 20,000+ customers. You'll find plenty of cheap, trendy clothes, too, such as track pants going for less than $15, marked down from $140.

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

Shipping prices vary depending on the item but are usually less than $10. Still, as you'll learn 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 a very useful app for finding great deals, but you should keep in mind a few points when using the app.

  • It displays your real name publicly for product lists, so beware: This is 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. Don't assume that your wish list is private, and consider refraining from creating wish lists and reviewing items on Wish entirely. All this said, the Wish app does not appear to sell information that identifies you as an individual to third parties.
  • Shipping times vary widely: Reviews of the Wish app clearly show 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, delivery times seem 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.

    Competitors

    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 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 for most orders.
    • Hollar – This is a good one to check out if you want to shop 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 to 90 percent.
    • 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.