Gartner defines a super app as an application that provides end users with a set of core features, a platform that offers an ecosystem of mini apps that users may select to activate for dependable and customized app experiences.
Brainy Insights estimates that the USD 61.30 billion super apps market will reach USD 718.0 billion by 2032.
China set the snowball rolling for Asia’s booming growth
Consider WeChat, the most well-known super app and perhaps the first super app, in order to fully comprehend them. In 2011, Tencent, a major player in Chinese technology, launched WeChat as a texting service. It is now a doorway to over a million services, including ride-hailing, booking travel, and lodging, scheduling appointments for medical care, accessing social media, making payments, and even setting up a date.
With the rise of WeChat, Harvard Business Review states that super apps have totally swept Asia during the past ten years. We have seen significant growth in PayTM and Tata Neu in India, GoTo GoJek in Indonesia, and Zalo in Vietnam. Kakao Talk, which was established in South Korea in 2010, has 87% of the nation’s active users. Japan and Thailand make extensive usage of LINE, a messaging app with South Korean origins but a Tokyo headquarters. Singapore is home to the headquarters of Grab, which was established in Malaysia.
According to GiiResearch, the Asia Pacific super apps market would witness market growth of 26.3% CAGR and be the largest market size during the forecast period (2022-2028). To be more specific, the China market dominated this market in 2021, and would continue to be a dominant market till 2028; thereby, achieving a market value of $31,010.4 Million by 2028. The Japan market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 25.5% during (2022 – 2028). Additionally, The Indian market would experience a CAGR of 27% during (2022 – 2028).
In Singapore, 35% of individuals use super apps at least a few times per week, and 56% of people have used one lately, demonstrating the widespread uptake and influence on consumers, according to the Customer Experience Edge Singapore 2023 report.
Citi GPS’s most recent report explains some key drivers behind the rise of super apps in Asia as follows:
- Mobile-first internet users: Most internet users in Asia first used their mobile device to access the internet or solely used their mobile device to access the internet. Asia’s internet culture is therefore heavily based around smartphones.
- Wide distribution of cost-efficient mobile phones: In Asia, companies with less memory storage that are relatively more affordable – like Oppo and Vivo – hold sizable market shares.
- Trust, brand, and scale: In Asia, “super apps” are frequently part of developed ecosystems made up of related apps or mini-programs, each of which has expertise in a certain industry.
West countries are lagging behind
While super apps have spread across Asia, there are currently no apps that combine communication, entertainment, e-commerce, and payment services for a broad market in either Europe or North America.
Deloitte listed out some reasons to justify why haven’t super-apps risen to dominance in Western countries:
- Western smartphone consumers need encouragement to switch to the super-app paradigm since they are used to their clustered native app strategy.
- In emerging nations, super-apps were popular because they used fewer data and storage per service than single-service applications.
- While the US, EU, and Australia have well-established rules for data governance (such as the GDPR of the EU) and building trust (such as the US Federal Trade Commission), many places where super-apps are prevalent have less regulation.
Over the past ten years, super-apps have sparked the economic, cultural, and social expansion of emerging economies. According to InvestmentMonitor, given the difficulties related to culture, regulations, and consumer trust, it will be difficult to duplicate their success in the West. Although the approach hasn’t taken off in more Western areas like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, it gives a hint as to what the future of digital interaction could hold.
However, it’s not one size fits all
TechwireAsia emphasizes that businesses need to understand what super apps, what kinds of clients, and what services are being used by their customers. The super app must also be trusted by businesses to create a smooth consumer experience on their behalf. Super apps must be a crucial component of go-to-market strategies for brands operating across these widespread use cases, or they risk losing a sizable percentage of their client base.
For more than a decade, the Asian tech ecosystem has been dominated by super apps, platforms such as WeChat, Alipay, Grab, or GoJek that provide a vast network of services all in one integrated app. In contrast, similar services in the West have remained widely dispersed, with a wider selection of applications and websites each providing consumers with a more limited range of features.