Rise of the superapp

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Rise of the superapp


This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.

Gartner forecasts that 50% of the population will be using superapps by 2027, predicting a skyrocket in usage for the future. Yet where did they come from and what do they do?

Superapps are mobile or web applications that offer users multiple services on a single platform. These multi-service applications include mini-apps and features that allow users to integrate their lifestyle and payments onto one functionality. These superapps are upcoming in Asian markets, with more and more users turning to superapps for the majority of their payments.

Superapps allow for all of a users’ separate social media, banking, e-commerce, messaging, transportation, and even food delivery to be consolidated in one place, facilitating a frictionless payments process.

Superapp models allow third party access to exclusive customer data that can create personalised recommendations, discounts, and loyalty programs for users to boost cross-selling and sales. The objective of the superapp is to encompass all retail and commercial needs in one platform, allowing all the user data to be focused from one outlet that will allow third parties to strategically combine services that can gain the most from each user.

What superapps are operational and where are they available?

There are a large number of superapps that are operational in Asia, Africa, and South America that are widely used. Superapps such as Alipay, Careem, and Kakao provide multiple services such as mobile payments, credit scoring, ticket booking, ride-hailing, deliveries, voice calling, and media streaming.

China’s Alipay is one of the most popular and widespread superapps, which started off as a digital payments platform and expanded into transport, food delivery, and other financial management services.

WeChat, which is frequently used in East Asia, is a a social media network that offered messages, voice calls and video calls, and now digital wallet features as well.

Additional superapps include Gojek and Grab which are advanced platforms that provide services from a wide range of industries. Grab offers food delivery, package deliveries, transport, and messaging alongside digital payments in Southeast Asia, and Gojek was Indonesia’s first unicorn that provides transport, payments, and food among other services.

In North America and Europe superapps are not as prevalent due to the shadow of Big Tech such as Amazon, Google, and Meta that are extending their social web services to payments, deliveries, and other offerings.

Companies such as Klarna and Uber are moving towards superapp status in Europe, as Uber has expanded its offerings in terms of transportation and food delivery, yet both Europe and North America are lacking in superapp advancement and convenience.

However, new developments may be on the horizon as Elon Musk, who has converted Twitter to X, has expressed interest in forming a superapp which could be “equivalent to WeChat”, and Meta’s Mark Zuckerburg has plans to expand Facebook and Whatsapp to a payments space with a marketplace.

What are the benefits and challenges of a superapp?

The high level benefits of superapps are accessibility and seamless user experience for the customer. They facilitate data sharing, personalisation of services to each user, and have a high level of customer satisfaction and loyalty thanks to the fluid experience. Due to these benefits, superapps attract a wider user base and more investors.

Challenges posed by the widespread adoption of superapps is roadblocks in privacy and data sharing regulation, which could make it difficult to popularise superapps. Additionally, the market dynamic between a wider range of services on one app versus the personalisation available on a single-service app could sway user preferences and the appetite for superapps in countries where they are not prevalent.

What technologies are used within superapps?

Superapps operate through an advanced ecosystem of microapps and external platforms to provide a holistic experience for the consumer. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and embedded finance facilitate third-party services from operating on the superapp, allowing users to make external payments, shop, order food, and more.

Data sharing and user authentication are used to share customer information among various mini-apps to create a single view of multiple operating systems at one time, which is also facilitated by the cloud through cloud data storage and real-time efficiency.


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This content is contributed or sourced from third parties but has been subject to Finextra editorial review.