Alipay, another Chinese giant, was born as a wallet of the e-commerce platform Alibaba and has also become a very popular Super App that includes all kinds of everyday services, including financial services, thus transforming itself into a unique Marketplace for its users.
Gradually Super Apps in different segments have been emerging in other countries and their philosophy is: "Have it all under one place".
Looking to the tourism sector and the American continent, some companies are taking firm steps towards this new concept of developing a single app, such as Uber, which earlier this year launched a pilot in the UK of a travel Super App to integrate train, flight, bus and hotel bookings. In the US, Uber has also launched the Uber Explore business line, for booking restaurants and leisure activities, making Madrid the first European city, the second outside the US, where Uber will test the new Explore service.
In the financial sector, Swedish fintech Klarna, currently the fifth most valuable startup in the world, evolves its business model to also become a Super App aimed at facilitating the shopping process for any online consumer, solving the possibility of shopping in all online shops through its Super App.
One of the most surprising aspirations of the Super App is X, the 'super app' that Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into, offering very diverse services and with such a variety of tools and utilities as: instant messaging, video conferencing, social networking, news, payment gateway, online shop, restaurant reservations, food delivery, travel planning and booking, dating, online gaming, carpooling... anything else Elon?
In short, a complete ecosystem, concentrating the maximum daily activity of its users, in the style of WeChat, which is the only one that brings together all, or almost all, segments at the moment.
Let's not forget other big companies that are studying the possibility of developing a Super App, such as Meta, Google or Amazon. We will see who succeeds.
From a consumer point of view, as the app economy grows, consumers face an increasingly saturated landscape of apps from different sectors, which can be frustrating for them as they need to keep up with the latest, learn how each one works and jump from app to app. All this makes them welcome the idea of a single app to take care of all their digital needs in a convenient way, in an app that combines social, business and financial solutions in one place.
But let's look at the downsides: sometimes apps fail, or have problems with security hacks. Also, having all your tools in a single application can make you very vulnerable. Nor should we lose sight of frictions of privacy problems, since this Super App would know everything you do. And finally, there are some critical voices pointing out that the grouping of these large companies is stifling the economy and innovation.
We will see what happens, and if, as in China, these Super Apps are imposed in the rest of the world.
Author: Laura Darder
Founder and Marketing Director Mrs Disruptive