Nowadays, people can do everything with their smartphones. There are many custom mobile applications for even specific needs. That’s the real draw: practical technology in the palm of your hand. There are different applications for the purchase and delivery of food, socialization, vehicle maintenance services, or investment banking, among other activities. I bet you have at least two of these apps downloaded on your phone and trust me, you’re not the only one.
But is it possible for a single application to offer all these services at the same time, without the need to use another app? Yes, it is possible, such applications are called superapps. In China, they are already dominating the market and, without a doubt. But why are the superapps getting popular?
What is a super app?
The answer to this question varies depending on the place consulted, but basically, it is a platform developed by a company that offers several services in one place and that competes against the main screen of smartphones. We can compare a superapp to a building where you can access various services, from shopping experiences, banking services, food, payments, and sometimes even a space for social interactions.
If we want to understand superapps, a typical example is WeChat, an app from Tencent in China. Just for reference, Instagram is one of the most popular apps in the world and has 1 billion active monthly users, closely competing with the Chinese giant, but not quite reaching it yet.
WeChat emerged as a social messaging app, but due to a rise in popularity and also the need to increase its billing, it began to expand the services it offered and ended up becoming a single app to solve everything, literally. Monetary operations, payments, social networks, taxi services, food delivery, purchases in marketplaces, and more. It grew so much that it caught the attention of the Chinese government and now it also works as an electronic identity document for users.
While WeChat is the best example of a super app, we know that China is a unique case in terms of technology. This is because when it comes to analyzing superapps in the West, the criteria applied in WeChat become unworkable.
We consider superapps to be like any type of application that has more than one standard functionality. A good example is the Uber app: it started as a passenger transportation service app, but gradually evolved into UberEats (food delivery service) and even Uber Flash (shipping services). Uber is considered to be a super app because it integrates customer data and offers three different services in one app without any inconvenience.
However, we still wonder: with this trend reaching a larger market, will every app end up becoming a super app? Do they all need to?
Why choose the path of superapps?
According to research by App Annie, people are spending more and more time on their mobile phones: an average of 4.2 hours a day; therefore, applications must offer as many available services as possible. According to that same report, there was a 7% year-over-year growth in new app downloads, quickly reaching 218 billion in 2020.
Becoming a superapp also offers other benefits:
– More downloads, more traffic, and, therefore, a greater brand presence and the arrival of more customers. Consequently, that also attracts more brands or miniapps to the service of the main application. Also, the more services you offer, the more time customers spend on the app.
– Customer data is gold in the world of technology. For example, if a customer ordered a car through an app and registered their home address, that same address can be used to deliver food or even register an address for the delivery of a product they bought through the marketplace. These data can be used without problems in the different services offered by the superapp.
– Greater contact with the client. Through an application and not just a super app, four new contact fronts are opened: desktop, mobile phone, iOS, and Android. The customer can contact you from anywhere and with little resistance.
– Relevance. In these times, relevance is a keyword for companies everywhere, especially in the digital world, where retaining people’s attention depends a lot on what is offered and how the application works. So make sure you have a user-friendly interface and offer as many services as possible.
From the points above, it is not surprising that today, superapps are increasingly popular, more than ever.