Instagram is building a shopping app, report says

Instagram may be bringing out a dedicated app for shopping. The app - which is expected to be called IG Shopping - will allow users to browse a virtual storefront from the companies they follow and make purchases directly within the app.

According to sources speaking to The Verge, there's a chance the new app could be canceled before launch, but it wouldn't be the first time Instagram has spun out a separate app from its main platform. In June, the long-form video app IGTV was launched, putting vertical video into users feeds in an attempt to compete with YouTube.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, already operates the Facebook Marketplace. This is an eBay-esque tab in the main Facebook app where users can sell goods to one another. It's possible that a more polished storefront with the aesthetic charm of Instagram could be the social media giant's first step towards taking on Amazon's dominance.

According to Facebook's last earnings call, over 25 million businesses already have Instagram accounts and two million are advertisers. Four in five Instagram users follow at least one business, demonstrating how much potential there is to sell to them.

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Capitalizing on both of those statistics with a standalone app could prove profitable for Facebook, but space on the smartphone home screen is limited. And while Facebook apps (including Instagram Boomerang, Hyperlapse, Messenger, Whatsapp, and the main Facebook app) already dominate it, getting another one on there could prove difficult.

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