iOS 15 Launches on September 20 and Will Have a Massive Impact on Ecommerce Revenue: Here’s What Retailers Need to Know 

by Marshall Moritz, on Sep 17, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Apple’s iPhone 13 event happened earlier this week, and among the four new phones, two new iPads, and a new Apple watch, was the announcement that iOS 15 will be released this coming Monday, September 20.

This update comes with a breadth of new bells and whistles, but one of the most impactful features is the addition of browser extensions to mobile Safari users, marking the first time a mobile web browser will have this functionality.

The bad news for online retailers is that Apple has been working closely with Honey as one of its early partners to test the addition of coupon extensions, a feature that will be available at launch. 

Given that roughly 67% of all ecommerce transactions are completed over mobile devices (ie. smartphones or tablets), this will likely have a massive impact on online revenue for retailers that use coupon and discount codes as part of their marketing strategy. 

This is also likely to pave the way for Chrome and other mobile browsers to adopt the same technology.

For now, let's focus on how this particular update may affect your coupon strategy and profit margins.


How This Will Impact Your Ecommerce Business

Running a discount campaign centered around online coupon redemption inherently makes you vulnerable to unexpected revenue loss and coupon fraud when your coupons “leak” beyond your intended audience.

Coupon leakage happens when shoppers share coupons user-to-user, add them to deal sites like RetailMeNot, or when coupon extensions like Honey and CapitalOne Shopping scrape the codes that their users enter at checkout.

When coupon extension users enter a code they have legitimately earned in the promo code box at checkout, the extension will scrape it,  add it to their database, and then share it with the rest of their users.

This will quickly eat up your marketing budget as an unexpected swath of buyers begin using your limited use discount codes, while also making it impossible to rely on coupon code redemption patterns to determine which marketing channels are driving sales. 

Codes from every channel, including those being distributed by affiliates or via your email or SMS campaigns, may be artificially boosted if they are picked up by coupon extensions, and this may lead you to overpay affiliates whose codes have leaked.

Now that these extensions will be available on Safari’s mobile browser, we expect this problem to grow exponentially. 

shop online break downbreakdown shop online stats


The charts above break down how buyers shop online, with roughly 50% of completed orders occurring on mobile iOS devices.

With coupon extensions only available to desktop users (roughly ⅓ of Transactions) until now, we estimate that these extensions are costing retailers between $1.5B to $1.79B annually, according to our internal data. 

And with the iOS 15 update coming on September 20th, the impact of coupon extensions holds the potential to double in size, to between $2.28B to $2.69B annually.

What You Can Do About It

The release of iOS 15 makes it more critical than ever that online retailers put in place a system, like cleanCART, to protect their discount codes.

Using cleanCART, along with practicing good “coupon hygiene”, will help you protect your ecommerce revenue and ensure that the data you gain from coupon redemptions can reliably be used to determine the ROI of your marketing efforts.

Blocking Coupon Extensions and the Impact on Merchant Revenue


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