Described as a ‘Swiss army knife’, super apps have revolutionised daily life for users, offering a wide range of services all within a singular, user-friendly application.
According to Gartner, by 2027 50% of the population will be using more than one super app, signalling a significant shift in the mobile app industry. Originating in Asia, super apps began as messaging apps expanding their services to include other features such as mobile payments, e-commerce, ride-hailing, food delivery, and social networking. Such apps have surged in popularity in Asia due to their simplicity, flexibility and ability to reduce clutter on mobile devices, improving financial organisation.
But despite the popularity of super apps in other markets, the Western world is seemingly behind in the super app race. “We have seen some household names begin to explore the possibility of diversifying their apps, such as Uber, Klarna and Lydia,” comments Jeremy Baber, CEO of Lanistar, “but have much further to go to reach super app status.”
This month Technology Magazine explores 10 of the world’s leading super apps.
Created in 2015, Latin America super app Rappi was born as the solution to connect small businesses or neighborhood stores with users in a few city blocks.
Today, the company has raised more than US$2bn and has more than 30 million users across 350 cities in nine countries such as Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.
Along with offering food delivery, Rappi offers retail products, digital payments, insurance and in 2020 added Rappi Travel, a marketplace offering flights, accommodations, car rentals and packages.
9: Tata Neu
Tata Neu is an app designed to offer customers an extensive yet highly personalised shopping experience. The culmination of over two years of research, development, and testing, Tata Neu aims to bring about a great shopping experience for its customers.
Integrating the Tata group’s most trusted brands all into a single convenient platform, it offers users a degree of versatility and choice that’s truly unmatched. Covering categories ranging from electronics and groceries, to travel and more, the range of products and services offered is second to none.
With ambitions to bring ride-hailing, bike and scooter rental, trains, buses, planes and car rentals to one platform, Uber is on a mission to create a global travel super app.
Launched in 2009, today the company provides ride-hailing services, food delivery through Uber Eats and freight transport, and has over 131 million monthly active users and six million active drivers and couriers worldwide.
Founded in 2015, PhonePe is India’s leading digital payments company with more than 500 million registered users and over 37 million merchants covering over 99% of the postal codes across India. On the back of its leadership in digital payments, PhonePe has expanded into financial services as well as adjacent tech-enabled businesses such as Pincode for hyperlocal shopping and Indus App Store: a native Android-based mobile app store designed to fulfill the localised and cultural needs of Indian consumers.
Paytm is India's leading mobile payments and financial services distribution company. Pioneer of the mobile QR payments revolution in India, Paytm builds technologies that help small businesses with payments and commerce. Paytm’s mission is to serve half a billion Indians and bring them to the mainstream economy with the help of technology.
More than 300 million Indians use Paytm to Pay at their stores. The Paytm app is also used to pay bills, send money to friends and family, and to book movies and travel tickets.
Gojek is Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand, multi-service tech platform, providing access to a wide range of services including transport, payments, food delivery and logistics. Founded in 2010 with providing solutions to Jakarta’s ever-present traffic problems in mind, Gojek started as a call centre with a fleet of only 20 motorcycle-taxi drivers.
The Gojek app was launched in January 2015 for users in Indonesia to provide motorbike ride-sharing (GoRide), delivery (GoSend), and shopping (GoMart) services. Today, Gojek has transformed into a super app: a one-stop platform that connects users with over two million registered driver-partners and 500,000 GoFood merchants.
Serving over 500 cities in eight Southeast Asian countries, Grab enables millions of people to order food or groceries, send packages, hail a ride or taxi, pay for online purchases or access services such as lending and insurance, all through a single app.
Grab was founded in 2012 with the mission to drive Southeast Asia forward by creating economic empowerment for everyone, and strives to serve a triple bottom line: to simultaneously deliver financial performance for its shareholders and have a positive social and environmental impact in Southeast Asia.
With more than 35 million customers worldwide, Revolut is one of the few financial super apps used worldwide, which helps individuals make better financial decisions.
The company announced earlier this year that it was launching an instant messaging feature, aimed at making talking about money less awkward by keeping it in one place.
And in 2021 it launched Stays, making it easy to book holidays directly from the Revolut app.
Alibaba tycoon Jack Ma founded Alipay as a fintech app affiliated with his massive e-commerce company in 2004. A payment app and digital wallet, allowing users to send and receive money easily without using cash, Alipay also offers countless other features that allow users to hail a taxi, get a credit card and even buy insurance products.
Since 2008 Alipay has promoted public service payment services and has covered more than 300 cities nationwide, supporting more than 1,200 partner organisations. In addition to utility bills such as water and electricity, Alipay also extends its services to areas such as paying transportation fines, property fees and cable television fees. Outside of China, more than 300 worldwide merchants use Alipay to sell directly to consumers in China. It currently supports transactions in 18 foreign currencies.
WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging, social media, and mobile payment app developed by Tencent. First released in 2011, it became the world's largest standalone mobile app in 2018, and according to figures from Statista has over 1.3 billion monthly active users.
WeChat offers a number of popular messaging app features, including Moments – which offers social-networking functions – along with voice and text messaging, group messaging, payment and games. Today, WeChat is one of the leading social networks worldwide, ranking fifth in terms of active user number.
A survey found that a quarter of WeChat users in China spent over four hours on the app on a daily basis.
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