Redefining the expectations for a mobile-first experience
In breaking down the barriers between user interactions and transactions, super-apps meld experiences previously treated as distinct. In this three-part series, we look at the impact these apps and their development will have on Western markets and consumers.
Forecasting disruption from a super trend
Super-apps are redefining digital ecosystems globally. These all-in-one solutions integrate services typically handled across over a dozen discrete apps under a single umbrella—digital wallets, ride-hailing, hotel booking, loan payments, and countless other features can all be accessed from one app.
This paper, the first in our three-part super-app series, seeks to answer these questions:
What shape will super-apps take within Western markets, and what impact will they have?
How might we envision a super-app in a vertical that thus far hasn’t seen this type of disruption?
What approach can firms take in developing a super-app, and what capabilities must they build?
Our first report explores the impact super-apps will have on Western markets and how organizations can prepare for those shifts. Learn how super-apps may permanently change the mobile landscape in the United States.
What is a super-app?
Today’s smartphones consolidate countless products, services, and ways of connecting into a single device. At any moment, we have the power to hail a ride, order food delivery, invest, or share moments with friends. Convenience, above all, has become a paramount metric of the digital age.
Every industry is vying to offer a more seamless, integrated experience for their customers with faster load times, easier account creation, and cleaner user interfaces. The next evolution in digital activity, however, may not be in the form of a patchwork of discrete apps, but rather a single, one-stop-shop experience.
As more transactions become digitized, co-locating new functionality into a single app can ameliorate the inconvenience and inertia customers experience when juggling a dozen different apps. For more than a billion people globally, this experience is embedded into their daily routine through “super-apps.”
The term “super-app” lacks a consistent definition, complicating discussion. We’ve identified a set of four principles that helps illustrate what makes an app "super":
- Single app for all services
- Consistent transacting experience
- Data sharing across services
Where are super-apps headed in the West?
Based on our assessment of international super-apps and the current landscape of Western markets, we contend that eight trends are likely to play out in the next three to five years:
Early super-apps will emerge in Western countries by 2025.
Those successful in pursuing super-apps strategies are already major platform players.
Social media, rideshare, and payment companies are more likely to succeed in developing successful super-apps than incumbent banking or insurance firms.
Western markets will not see a single, dominant super-app like WeChat in the near term.
Insights and advice will be the cornerstone of Western super-apps.
Western super-apps will likely be transparent in how they collect and use customer data.
Cryptocurrency could play a potential key role in driving super-app growth.
The B2B space is likely to see super-apps soon.
Acting today for tomorrow’s landscape
In breaking down the barriers between user interactions and transactions, super-apps meld experiences previously treated as distinct. Today’s players are likely to follow suit, becoming more creative in their approaches to partnerships and more proactive in identifying their customers’ needs.
Super-apps are not on track to replace every app on a Western user’s phone, but they will likely shake up our expectations for a mobile-first experience. The firms that can potentially expect the most disruption are in financial services, where nearly nine out of ten banks experience issues related to digital transformation.
Learn more in our following two reports, which explore the possibility and potential of super-apps for small businesses and financial service providers.
The possibility of a B2B super-app
Hidden in plain sight: Serving small businesses through super-app
The how-to’s of super-app development
Financial services super-apps: Growth and transformation through engagement.