Not too long ago, ($PRIVATE:WISH) was top dog among the e-commerce darlings, with a unicorn valuation to match. Social media statistics, job postings, web traffic - everything was on the up just before they earned an $11.8 billion valuation in August.

But the Coronavirus outbreak is highlighting weaknesses between startups’ consumer models, and that of industry behemoth Amazon. Scale matters, and Amazon’s dominance in the e-commerce game may ultimately be cemented by the fact it provides consumers everything they need to ride out a crisis, from board games to groceries. Recent data makes it hard to argue the case for Wish as a significant competitor to Amazon.

For starters: Like so many other companies nervous about the effect of a long-term lockdown, Wish has slashed job postings. While our LinkedIn headcount chart , shown above, indicates the company has added about 200 hires since June, recent job postings (below) have dropped from 180 after a spike in early March to just 43 by last week.

Contrast that to Amazon, which, as of last month, had as many as 40,000 open positions. While that is still a 4,000-job decrease, it hardly slows their hiring spree since the new year. It took Amazon the entirety of 2018-2019 to increase its headcount by 10,000. 

Amazon, on the other hand, has seen job postings soar 28% year-over-year, according to data. 

Even if shoppers are more online than ever, essentials are taking priority over flash-sale goodies. Plus, there’s no telling how some merchants’ operations and supply chains will be impacted for Wish - or all of the industry at large - but it is a safe bet that Amazon’s ongoing push to staff up warehouses and delivery operations will do more to help it weather the storm ahead, than any startup’s planning would. 

What remains as a potential advantage for Wish is that it has already successfully scaled up as a mobile business. 

Despite all this, Wish does have Amazon beat when it comes to mobile users. Neither is growing too fast, but Wish’s millions of app store reviews far outstrip that of Amazon by number (not shown)  - though this is mostly a sign that online shopping is happening more on computers than phones, for the Seattle titan. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the 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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