Out of the 140 million users that Truecaller now has, 100 million of them reside in India. In China, nearly 2/3 of their population with internet access uses WeChat, powering its daily active users to a total of a whopping 1 billion users globally

The profound ability of these apps to penetrate such highly populated regions with so much ease in the face of tough competition from millions of apps that populate both the app stores is a huge testament to the rising power of a phenomenon we have come to know as Super Apps. 

What’s A Super App?

If you haven’t yet used a “Super App” like WeChat, AliPay, Grab or gojek, then you are missing out on something incredible that is happening in the mobile app development landscape of Southeast Asia, Latin America, India and to a lesser extent, Africa.

A Super App can be best defined as an app that contains many other apps inside of it. They provide a user with multiple convenience options ranging from booking flight tickets to paying your local grocer to even letting your hail taxi rides and chat with your friends.

For most people living outside of these regions, especially in the West, this might come off as an intriguing yet alien concept, but the spectacular growth of these apps in the last few years is a sign that they will soon see something similar coming their way, effectively disrupting the conventional single purpose app model that they have become accustomed to. 

Since the time that mobile apps truly started to gain mass traction, users viewed mobile apps as software that could be installed on their phones, serving a single, well defined purpose.

Each app only did one thing and no doubt, it did it well. If you wanted to chat with your friends, then you could use Whatsapp, for hailing taxi rides and bringing in deliveries, there was Uber & Lyft, for buying anything online, there was Amazon. 

Super Apps are the exact opposite of this. 

They offer all of these services in a single place, taking the idea of user facilitation to its zenith. 

Challenging The Conventional App “Vertical Growth Model”

Most Western app development companies, for years, focused on the “Vertical Growth Model” and it was well suited to the single purpose apps they were trying to globalize. 

Take the example of Netflix to understand the Vertical Growth Model. Netflix offers streaming based entertainment services and their app and service gained a lot of users through just offering the same service to as many people as they can on the globe. The idea behind Vertical Growth, is to take the same, single purpose idea and expand it globally. 

However, with the rise of Super Apps, this model and its effectiveness was effectively challenged.

Super Apps want to dominate certain geographical areas completely and for that, they try to expand horizontally i.e. by continuing to add convenience services to the app in order to make it a one-stop shop for users to do anything and everything.

Go-Jek, which started off as an app offering just motorbike ride hailing services, now offers a wide ended range of services in the fintech, entertainment, ride hailing sectors. Go-Jek is now fast expanding outside of its initial base in Indonesia and is on its way to become one of the most influential super apps in the South-East Asian market. 

Grab, based out of Singapore, is following a similar model of offering users with services like on-demand ride hailing, food delivery, utility dues payments through its app. 

This horizontal growth model allows these apps to come to dominate specific regions in a way that was not though possible in the mobile app development industry before.

Focus On Hyper Local Services:

One underlying factor, that’s common in all these Super Apps, is their intensive focus on offering hyper local services. If you scrutinize the service structure of these Super Apps, you will come to realize that they offer services to suit the convenience of the local user. 

Whether its Grab or Go-Jek or WeChat, the focus is on effectively ensuring that any daily life activity that a user performs, gets executed through the medium of this app.

Whether it’s offering ride-hailing services or easing payments through facilitating mobile payments, the services offered by these Super Apps make them lucrative for users to join in as they will get extremely facilitated by joining in on the ecosystem.

In emerging markets, where such apps are the most popular, the population, in general terms and in absolute density, is quite high, if we compare it to the traditional app markets in the West. 

This allows these Super Apps to gain ever more users by flexing and tweaking the app to accommodate user needs. For e.g. in India, credit cards are not owned by a wide majority of the population, but their fintech ecosystem is expanding phenomenally thanks in large part to the facilitation offered by Super apps like PayTM.

These Super apps make it much easier for the population to jump on the bandwagon of digital solutions and get facilitated from them, in a manner that wasn’t previously available to them.

Powering Global Dominance Within The Lucrative Digital Industry

To become a category winner in today’s tech domain, you need to anticipate consumer needs in avenues where prior solutions don’t exist and that’s exactly what these Super Apps are doing currently.

Their dominance in densely populated regions like China and India signal a robust growth curve ahead for them. And if that remains the case, then everyone from advertisers to conventional service providers will soon be lining up to collaborate with these Super Apps in order to leverage their huge dominance footprint. 

So whether you own an Android app development company or an iOS development company, or even are a business looking to invest in an app, opting for developing a Super App of sorts, even on a small scale, will definitely reap a high amount of rewards for you, especially if you target these developing regions where the pace of people joining the internet is just picking up speed. 

Author Bio: Jane Collen

Jane Collen is a creative content writer and digital marketer at TekRevol. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing blog writing, video script writing, ghostwriting, copywriting and social media marketing services.