Why all the hype about Super Apps?
What do we know about Super Apps? Well, Super Apps have been gaining a great deal of press recently. You have probably heard of companies like Meta, Uber, Spotify and PayPal hinting at plans for the future.
Meanwhile, the popularity of this new species of app is soaring in Asia, the best example of this being China’s WeChat.
Unlike a standard app which generally delivers a single service or function, super apps combine several into one central app.
This provides the user with a streamlined base platform.
To define super apps; A Super App is a multi-feature application. This means that they offer not only the company’s main product or service but also other functions.
All of this combines into a simplified, time-saving consumer experience.
For example, an airline app would offer flights. However, as we see today, it can also provide hotel bookings, car rentals, route planners and transfer services. Hence uniting all of your travel requirements on one platform.
We have yet to encounter a true all-encompassing Super App. This is most likely because it will present numerous obstacles for any company willing to take on this immense project.
Aside from the tech-related challenges. We also need to take into account cultural, regulatory and economic diversity.
There is also the enormous issue of data security and privacy. This has been a huge talking point in recent years and will require careful consideration.
If the Super App is successful, it could mean a revolution in how we use the internet. It will change how the world views and interacts with our most used applications and services.
The company that achieves the goal of providing the world’s first global reach app will go down in history. It will also see them soaring past their competitors in the battle for internet generated revenue.
The single use app will likely become a thing of the past. More and more of us will embrace the ease and convenience of having all of our daily online needs streamlined into one platform.
What else do we know about Super Apps?
As previously mentioned, Super Apps have become massively popular in Asia. So why have they not really made an impression globally?
WeChat is a messaging app owned by the Chinese internet company Tencent, which was first launched in 2011.
Since its early days as a single function app, it has grown into a huge multi service platform with over 1.3 billion users! Similar to Google Play Store, more than one million apps can be accessed within WeChat.
One of the main reasons for the success of Super Apps in Asia and the relative lack of them in the US and Europe is attributed to the fact that, in 2007 when the first iPhone was introduced in the US, most people in the West had become used to PC internet access in the home.
Because of this most people already had their favourite websites which were then converted into single function mobile apps.
At that time only around 16% of the Chinese population were online in their homes. With the launch of the iPhone there in 2009, China saw a rise of over 65% of people online in the first 5 years.
This meant that China effectively skipped the PC era giving tech companies the opportunity to shape the new internet consumer.
So how are we feeling about Super Apps?
There has been a decided change of feeling towards Super Apps in the Western tech world, a good example of which is Meta.
Mostly they have maintained the independence of their suite of apps; Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. This gives the impression that they are a counter example of a Super App.
This is not completely true. Meta has been adding new features to Facebook for a number of years such as Marketplace and their gaming centre.
More recently it has been noted that they are adding new features to Instagram allowing users to shop in-app, whilst still maintaining their simple user-friendly interface.
You can share posts from your Facebook to your Instagram without leaving the app.
You can also connect your WhatsApp to your Facebook business page.
On the whole the world looks bright for Super Apps and maybe soon we will be introduced to the first ever global Super App!