“Twitter rebrand marks Elon Musk’s first step towards new global shopping super-app”

  • Written by David Jinks M.I.L.T, head of consumer research, ParcelHero 

Twitter’s famous blue bird logo, named ‘Larry’ after famous basketball star Larry Bird, has been axed in favour of a new ‘X’ logo. This is the latest move in Elon Musk’s master plan to transform the social media platform into X – a global ‘everything’ app focused on shopping and payment services as well as messaging.

When the controversial billionaire finally bought Twitter in October 2022, he swiftly set about pulling it apart. While laying off half its workforce, the changes he introduced included reducing content moderation, monetising blue tick verification marks and limiting the number of messages users can read. These moves now make sense as Twitter begins its transformation away from a dedicated messaging app into a global super-app.

The latest moves towards a new “everything” app include changing the name of the business to X Corp and dropping the familiar blue bird logo in favour of a white “X” on a black background.

The main reason Musk paid around $44 billion for the loss-making business (albeit reluctantly) is to emulate the super-apps that have taken Asia by storm. These include China’s WeChat and Moj, and India’s PayTM, Indonesia’s Golek and Singapore’s Grab. Using these apps, people can shop online, order tickets, book a ride, make a cashless payment and even book a parcel collection.

WeChat appears to be the main inspiration for X. Like Twitter, this was originally a social media platform. It now offers a huge range of services, with people using it to send not only messages to friends and family, but also money. They also use it to pay for shopping and services. WeChat has around 1.29 billion users in China alone and it’s thought some people spend a third of their waking hours on the app.

A social media app that is also an e-commerce and payment platform is potentially the future of both retail and communications, all rolled into one. If the project goes according to plan, then we are all likely to be both chatting and shopping on X before very long. At least, that’s Musk’s gamble.

However, it’s perhaps portentous that Musk is calling messages sent on the new platform “Xs”, rather than “Tweets”. Users may soon choose to be “exes” – previous Twitter users who have moved on to new rival apps, such as Meta’s Threads, in protest against the wholesale dismantling of their favourite messaging site.

At ParcelHero we believe that X will now begin to transform rapidly into a broader super-app. That could be good news for British shoppers who choose to remain on the platform and want to see broader tie-ins between their interests and activities and information about new products and services. It could also represent new opportunities for UK SME sellers, particularly those who are engaged in US marketplace sales as, initially, this is likely to be where most sales opportunities are focused.

However, even a super-social and sales app won’t be able to counter all the problems around US e-commerce. Currently, the main hurdle is US Customs duties and taxes. Most UK goods exported to the US that are valued at over $800 (the US import tax threshold) are still subject to tariffs of 0% to 37.5%, with the typical rate being 5.63%. ParcelHero’s USA page gives full details on Customs advice, sending food, prohibited items, etc. 

For ParcelHero’s expert advice on UK-US shipping, including useful frequently asked questions (FAQs), help for exports and prohibited items details, visit: https://www.parcelhero.com/en-gb/international-courier-services/usa-parcel-delivery