Super apps have gained immense popularity in recent years by providing users with a seamless and comprehensive solution that eliminates the need to switch between multiple apps. These all-in-one platforms offer a wide range of services within a single app, offering convenience and user-friendliness like never before.
It is important to note that super apps are not just a passing fad, but a prominent trend that is significantly impacting the industry. As their popularity continues to soar, super apps are posing a formidable challenge to traditional financial institutions, compelling them to adapt to the evolving landscape.
In this article, our focus will be on exploring the rise of super apps and examining their implications for the fintech sector.
Defining a super app
To put it simply, super apps are all-in-one solutions that offer a wide variety of services without the users having to leave the app. For example, your banking app might let you transact with different accounts, pay utilities, give you discounts on internet data bundles, invest your money, and entertainment; that's a super app.
Generally, super apps don't start out trying to be digital swiss army knives. They'll start off with a single function – like the above banking app example – and then add new services and functionality over time. The goal is to offer personal experiences to users, dominate the market they launched in, spreading to services and industries where their users already are.
"It's more than just a composite mobile app or web portal. Super apps are built as platforms to deliver modular mini-apps that users can activate for personalised app experiences." – VP Analyst at Gartner, Jason Wong, in an interview with Fintech Magazine.
There's a good chance you're already using a super app, like Indonesian-based Gojek, Tencent Holdings' WeChat, or neobank Revolute. Each one offers services that go well beyond their initial launch offerings.
Where did super apps come from?
There's no denying that the launch of the iPhone in 2007 was revolutionary. Suddenly, smartphones burst onto the scene (other companies had tried this before) and people had access to these little programs called apps. Remember the phrase, "There's an app for that"?
But, like any market, over-saturation becomes a problem – there are over 1.7 million apps on iOS – and users had to (and still do) switch between many different apps for their needs. In hindsight, super apps were a natural evolution, combining so many functions into one place.
And, as CNBC states, low-priced smartphones have been key for the development of super apps. Specifically, low-cost smartphones from China are paving the way – just the phone accessories market alone is set to reach $346.9-billion by 2028.
The marriage of Fintech and super apps
What is the common thread among all the super apps we've mentioned? Fintech. Specifically, these apps are playing a crucial role in addressing the longstanding issue of financial inclusion, making financial products and services accessible and affordable for individuals and businesses alike. By enhancing the ease of use for users, including those who are unbanked, super apps can significantly expand their customer base.
Super apps have the opportunity to reach a massive audience base who might look for a single function, but can be hooked by a multitude of offerings.
Super apps are not without their own obstacles. Building a comprehensive super app presents several challenges, the foremost being the creation of a robust technology stack capable of supporting a wide array of services. This necessitates a deep understanding of various technologies and the ability to scale the platform as it grows.
Another obstacle lies in developing a clear monetisation strategy. Super apps can generate revenue through multiple channels, such as advertising, subscription fees, and in-app purchases. However, it is crucial to choose a sustainable and scalable approach to monetisation.
Lastly, super apps must prioritise delivering a seamless user experience. This entails ensuring that the different services within the app are easily discoverable and user-friendly, providing a consistent overall experience.
Launching a super app
With the right APIs and partners, it's never been easier to introduce fintech solutions into your existing app, or create a brand new one from scratch. Chat to us when you're ready to make something amazing.
Want to learn more? Listen to Head of Partnerships Richard Stockley talk about the rise of superapps in asia, and his perspective on what it would take to bring superapps to the west. Link to the article and the podcast episode here.