September 27, 2023

What is a Super App? The New Sources of Profits for Businesses

What is a Super App? The New Sources of Profits for Businesses - 6

We increasingly rely on mobile applications for various tasks and activities. Our tools range from social media and messaging apps to shopping and payment ones, covering almost everything we do. With the rapid advancement of new technologies and devices, the number of mobile applications for every need grows exponentially.

Users get accustomed to having a huge number of services just one click away. However, the expanding need for more and more mobile apps on their smartphones impedes a smooth user experience. Therefore, customers face the situation when they require a service, but further app downloads are undesired or inconvenient.

The answer to this issue is a Super App. These applications provide access to all services on a single platform. Thus, customers don’t need to install multiple apps as they can have everything at hand with just one solution.

We will take a glance at the world of super apps, explore a super app concept and characteristics, and try to answer whether it is worth investing in super app development.

What is a super app?

Seamless and comprehensive solutions, super apps save users from the need to endlessly download new apps on their devices. The super app concept implies a one-stop shop for everything a customer needs.

Super apps have gained immense popularity due to their convenience and all-in-one capability. A super app allows a user to access various services without downloading and switching between multiple applications.

One of the pioneering super apps is often regarded as WeChat, which was developed by Tencent and launched in 2011. WeChat started as a messaging tool but quickly expanded to integrate various services, including social networking, mobile payments, e-commerce, ride-hailing, food delivery, and more, all within a single platform. WeChat’s success in creating an all-encompassing ecosystem inspired the development of similar multi-purpose applications.

Super apps have penetrated the tech industry, with companies worldwide vying to create their own versions of these all-in-one platforms. Essentially, super apps offer a wide array of features and services beyond what a typical app could do. These functionalities can include messaging, social media, food delivery, financial services, and more, making them comprehensive and convenient for users.

If you wish to explore some real-life examples of such solutions, explore our super app features comparison.

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Benefits of super apps

One of the main advantages of super apps is their ability to offer an easy and integrated user experience. Instead of switching between multiple apps to complete different tasks, users can access all the services they need within a unified platform. It saves time and effort for users and makes it easier for them to achieve their purposes.

The fundamental features that distinguish super apps from traditional applications include the following.

  • Multiple services. Super apps provide many services within the same application, becoming a one-stop shop for every need. 
  • Enhanced user experience. Super apps deliver an easy and joyful user experience, allowing users to switch between various services within one application. 
  • Integration with third-party applications. Super apps can be integrated with other applications, granting access to additional services within a single solution.
  • Easy customer data collection. Information on consumer behavior and preferences becomes more centralized through one app. By collecting comprehensive data, super apps help develop new services for individual needs.
  • Increased reach for businesses. These apps become a handy tool for businesses to embrace a wider audience. By extending the number of services within a super app, companies can reach an existing customer base with new offers.
  • Greater security. Super apps provide reinforced security measures, including secure payment systems and encrypted data transfer, offering an extra protection layer.
  • Reduced costs. By using a single platform, businesses can simplify their operations, reach more customers, and minimize the expenses related to managing various apps and marketing channels.
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How beneficial can a super app be?

Once we’ve identified that super apps can bring value to individuals and businesses, it’s time to assess this value and determine whether these applications will be in demand. To attain this goal, let’s take a brief look at a super app market review.

The expansion of super apps started in Asian countries, where solutions like WeChat, Grab, and Gojek have become recognized industry leaders. Now, their popularity has reached Europe and North America. The global super app downloads have grown by 115% between 2016 and 2019, with Southeast Asia experiencing the highest growth rate. A survey estimates that an appropriate super app could attract 98 million day-one users, generating over $3.25 billion in annual spending.

Furthermore, the potential demand for super apps in North America and Europe is significant. The chart below displays the share of customers eager to install a super app. In the U.S., for instance, 28% of consumers are extremely interested in using these tools.

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One of the key factors contributing to the successful adoption of super apps is a mobile-first market, where smartphones are the primary devices for users. Additionally, the incorporation of financial and payment services is another attractive feature of super apps. Messaging, transportation, health and insurance, food, and other types of services make super apps comprehensive and convenient solutions for consumers.

Super apps’ weaknesses

While providing fascinating benefits to users, super apps also come with several concerns:

  • Dependency on ecosystem. Businesses may rely too heavily on super apps for their operations and user acquisition. Although it may not seem a problem at the beginning, it can lead to over-dependence on a third-party platform. Consequentially, a company can face risks if partners change their policies, fees, or services.
  • A lack of control and customization options. Super apps may restrict the control and customization opportunities for businesses using their platform. Such rules can limit businesses’ flexibility to set their services apart and prevent them from realizing their full capacity within the super app ecosystem.
  • Integration issues. Integrating third-party services and APIs within the super app can sometimes lead to technical issues and compatibility challenges. Therefore, a reliable technical partner is important to prevent or address potential troubles early.
  • Scaling challenges. As a super app grows, scaling infrastructure and support services to accommodate increasing user demand can be difficult. When building a super app, make sure to envisage decent growth opportunities.
  • Brand reputation. Negative experiences with one service within the super app can impact the overall brand reputation and user trust. This is the case when multiple functions have their flipside.
  • User fatigue. Super apps risk overwhelming users with excessive features, notifications, and options, leading to reduced engagement. Therefore, it makes sense to carefully plan your app’s development strategy, focusing on user expectations.

Super apps: strengths and weaknesses

We compiled a table below to summarize the upsides and downsides of super apps and help you identify your opportunities and pitfalls on the way of super app development.

Multiple servicesMany services within the same application.Dependency on ecosystemOverdependence on third-party conditions can lead to risks of changing policies, fees, or services
Enhanced user experienceUsers can switch between various services within one application.A lack of control and customization optionsRestrictions imposed by third-party platforms may prevent companies from reaching their full business potential.
Integration with third-party applicationsIntegrations grant access to additional services within a single solution.Integration issuesIntegrating third-party services and APIs within the super app can sometimes lead to technical issues and compatibility challenges.
Easy customer data collectionComprehensive data help develop new services for individual needs.Scaling challengesScaling infrastructure and support services to accommodate increased user demand can be difficult.
Increased reach for businessesBy extending the number of services within an app, companies can reach an existing customer base with new offersBrand reputationNegative experiences with one service within the super app can impact the overall brand reputation and user trust.
Greater securityReinforced security measures offer an extra protection layer.User fatigueSuper apps risk overwhelming users with excessive features and options, leading to reduced engagement.
Reduced costsCompanies can minimize the expenses related to managing various apps and marketing channels.

Why should companies develop a super app?

Enticing features and the galloping expansion of super apps can urge companies to invest in these promising solutions. But first of all, they should carefully consider potential benefits and challenges. 

Enhanced efficiency and user experience

With all the services and features consolidated in one application, users can complete various tasks without switching between multiple platforms or downloading various applications. This saves time and provides a smoother experience for the user. Additionally, a super app can leverage advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide personalized recommendations and a better user experience.

Greater customer loyalty and new user acquisition

By obtaining a range of services in one app, users are more likely to stay within the ecosystem and use the app regularly. Increased customer engagement can raise loyalty and retention. Furthermore, a super app can attract users interested in only one of the services and then open the door for multiple other features and opportunities.

Higher business value

By consolidating various services, companies can reduce the costs of maintaining multiple apps and streamline operations. Additionally, a super app can provide new revenue streams by offering services like e-commerce, payments, and advertising.

Technical challenges of creating a super app

Like any technical novelty, super app implementation is associated with a range of challenges. Based on our experience, we have outlined the five typical technical concerns companies will likely face.

Lack of expertise 

Building a super app requires diverse skills, including app development, backend programming, database management, and cybersecurity. Moreover, there is no unified recipe for an optimal tech stack. Customers can choose between Java, Python, and much more to link with the nodes. Companies that do not have in-house expertise in these areas may struggle to find the right talent and determine the best framework, language, tools, and process.

Super app development process

Creating a super app is a comprehensive and multi-stage process that involves several steps, including idea generation, prototyping, design, development, testing, and deployment. Each of these steps presents unique challenges that require careful consideration to ensure that the app meets user needs and delivers the expected value. It takes a great deal of experience to prevent potential pitfalls at every stage and make the process as smooth as possible.

Integrations with other services 

A super app typically integrates numerous services like e-commerce, payments, and messaging. Furthermore, a super app will implement plenty of APIs, from the payment to the security gateway. Therefore, app developers must be adept in multiple payment API integrations and ensure a smooth function of the integrated tools.

Data security 

A super app collects and stores vast amounts of user data, including personal information, payment details, and transaction history. Companies need to guarantee that this data is secure and protected from cyber threats like hacking and data breaches.

App management and support 

Super app management comprises regular support and app marketing. The first includes fixing bugs, updating features, and ensuring the app is compatible with the latest operating systems and devices. The latter is associated with super app strategy and functionalities. Both, however, are focused on seamless operation and reaching a broader audience.

Will super apps replace usual mobile solutions in the future?

We are facing a confident expansion of super apps, and the user perception of these solutions is positive. Thus, about 72% of consumers demonstrate their interest in super apps.

Several factors underpin the further development of super applications. One of the fundamental reasons is safety. If the service provides a non-compromised security layer, consumers will trust such a solution and use its extended functionality confidently.

The other factors of the super apps’ continual success include the following:

  • An immense popularity of super apps in Africa and the Middle East. Many smartphones in these regions are unable to handle multiple apps, opening a horizon of development opportunities for super apps in these markets. (GSMA Report “The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2021”). 
  • Super apps have already become integral to banking systems since financial services are inherent in numerous super platforms. Therefore, banks are building strategic relationships with super apps to accommodate customer needs.
  • Small to medium organizations are interested in super applications as they allow for considerable savings on marketing efforts and customer interactions.(A 2022 Survey by Clutch).
  • The e-commerce and fintech sectors are demonstrating a trend toward super apps. For instance, Walmart is cooperating with fintech companies and is going to launch a healthcare service. Furthermore, Amazon, PayPal, and Ant Group are developing their own super apps. (Report by McKinsey & Company “The Future of Super Apps.”, 2022).

We have also asked Chat GPT about the potential prevalence of super apps, and here is the answer we received:

“While super apps are likely to continue growing in popularity and influence, they are more likely to complement, rather than entirely replace, standalone applications. The coexistence of super apps and specialized apps provides users with a diverse and flexible ecosystem of digital tools, allowing them to choose the most suitable solutions for their specific needs and preferences.”

Therefore, together with more than favorable forecasts for super apps market growth, they would hardly supersede the regular applications completely, at least in the near future. They might conquer a significant market share; however, their coexistence with the regular apps looks reasonable so far.

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Frequently asked questions about super apps

🔴 What is the first super app in the world?

China’s WeChat emerged as the pioneering super app in 2011, initially serving as a communication platform but has since expanded to encompass a staggering array of over two million services spanning 200 categories. Since its inception, this innovative concept has gained significant traction, leading to a surge in the popularity of similar apps. 

Why super apps are trending?

Super apps are trending due to their ability to offer a wide range of services and features within a single platform, providing convenience and efficiency to users. These apps consolidate multiple functionalities such as communication, social media, e-commerce, payments, food delivery, transportation, and more, eliminating the need to switch between different applications. The seamless integration of various services in one app streamlines user experiences, saves time, and enhances convenience. Moreover, super apps frequently leverage data and user insights to personalize and tailor services, further enhancing user satisfaction. The growing popularity of super apps can be attributed to their ability to simplify daily tasks, improve productivity, and offer a holistic digital ecosystem for users.

🔴 Can I start my own super app?

Yes, it is possible to start your own super app, but it requires careful planning and execution. You should consider such steps as identifying target markets, defining core services, developing a robust platform, establishing secure partnerships with service providers, delivering user-friendly experiences, creating monetization strategies, and promoting. This way, it’s better to collaborate with experienced developers to achieve your goals.

⚫ What are the benefits of super apps?

The primary benefits of a super app include the multiple services it offers, enhanced user experience, integrations with additional services, easy customer data collection, increased audience reach, greater security, and reduced costs. This makes creating a super app enticing for businesses worldwide. 

🔴 What are the drawbacks of super apps?

Together with significant upsides, super apps also have several weak points. They include the dependency on the partners’ conditions, a lack of control and customization options, potential integration issues, larger threats to brand reputation, and the probability of user fatigue. However, a careful strategy and competent technical assistance can remedy these challenges.

Final thoughts

The future of super apps looks appealing as they provide an incredibly personalized and prolific experience. They help companies establish efficient partnerships, reduce costs, and attract a wider audience of users.

Investing in super app development can bring significant benefits. However, together with anticipating dividends, companies should meticulously assess threats and address challenges that can hamper the process and lead to poor results.

Taking pride in our achievements in breakthrough app development, we offer competent support in building your super app. Our expertise spans numerous industries including logistics, retail, healthcare, fitness, and more. We deliver technical projects that are not only user-friendly and visually appealing. Our team strives to resolve the challenges of each specific business with technology. For example, you can read our article about retail trends in 2023 with a detailed explanation of how they can shape your company.

We’re also proficient in creating functional mobile applications for Android and iOS. This allows businesses to enhance their operations and customer service. In our latest article, we analyzed the most popular driver applications for the logistics industry.

Our experts know how to mitigate potential threats and enrich your app with maximum user value. With our team, you can ease your path toward a successful super app creation.   

Learn more about our mobile development services — contact Coreteka.