Are Superapps Ready to Make a Comeback?

By Debasis Mohanty . August 03, 2023 . Blogs

At the tail end of 2022, there was a lot of talk about how superapps were dying. This discourse found more heat in Tata Group’s ambitious super app Tata Neu’s failure to engage the audience and rake in positive reviews. The Times of India reported in January 2023 that Tata Neu missed the sales target by 50%. 

But the failure of apps like Tata Neu and Paytm Mart doesn’t lend itself well to the fact that the very “idea” of a superapp is flawed. That’s because apps like WeChat, Alipay, Yandex, Gojek, etc., have found success in the international markets. 

When we drill down to the supposed failure, it’s apparent that it was due to poor user experience, high cognitive load, cluttered offerings, etc. — facets that will define the doom for every mobile application in 2023. 

But superapps can make a comeback this year. The success of CRED (which is slowly transitioning into a fintech superapp), PhonePe, Alipay, etc., is breathing new life into the market.


What Exactly Are Superapps?

A superapp is a mobile application that houses a variety of services and features. These might be associated with social networking, texting, eCommerce, ride-hailing, and other capabilities. Users of these apps can access a host of services and features from within a single app, making these apps intended to be a one-stop shop for users. 

Gartner sums up superapps perfectly by associating them with the “Swiss Army Knife.” Users have the facility of different components to choose from for their needs, and this particularly bodes well for the modern-day mobile-first experience economy.


Rise of Superapps and the Changing Market Landscape

Superapps have recently shown promising signs of a stunning comeback, largely as a result of the shifting market dynamics.

Let’s look at some of these factors that will boost the comeback of superapps in the market:

Emerging Business Models

Superapps build seamless ecosystems by integrating a variety of functionalities under a single platform, enabling users to access multiple services without having to switch between apps. This model is becoming easier to implement by the day, especially in the wake of the API economy. 

Businesses can leverage APIs from different providers or have a strategic API provider manage the connections altogether. The costs are low, in-house teams have more time on their hands, and integrations don’t exactly need to be ironed out. At the end of the day, enterprises can implement cutting-edge business strategies that encourage symbiotic partnerships between diverse services.

This ties well into the need for catering to evolving customer expectations. Users today look for simplicity, efficiency, and convenience in their digital interactions. Due to the integration of numerous services onto a single platform, superapps can prove immensely viable in satisfying these expectations. 

Evolving Technology

Technology developments have had a big impact on the resurgence of superapps. Consider this; in 2020, a Google-commissioned study conducted by Deloitte revealed that even a 0.1 seconds decrease in the time it takes for an eCommerce site to load results in 8% more conversions and 9% more customer spending.

Today, superapps have the ability to realize such performance improvements thanks to more reliable IT infrastructure, better internet speed, better mobile devices, etc. As it stands, the advent and rising pervasiveness of 5G, AR, IoT, etc., are all playing into the success of superapps.

Not to forget the difference AI can usher in with the facilitation of personalized experiences. On the back of AI, superapps can deliver personalized content, recommendations, and offerings by examining user information, preferences, and behavioral patterns. Generative AI technologies can also be leveraged to improve conversations with users.


Concerns with Super Apps

As businesses look to launch their superapps, they must be aware of the challenges that lie ahead. They need to understand what needs to be amended for the market and, at the same time, bring novelty to the product. 

Limited Geographic Expansion

Superapps need to cater to regional markets as much as they address the broad spectrum of user expectations. To expand into new markets, businesses must go beyond linguistic and cultural hurdles as well as adhere to various location-specific regulations.

High Competition

The saturation and fierce competition in the app market can be partly blamed for the dormancy of superapps up until now. The market landscape stands unchanged, with numerous standalone apps flooding the market. 

App Fatigue

Users might experience app fatigue as a result of being overloaded with the sheer number of applications accessible as more independent apps join the market. Confusion and frustration might be evident as a result of navigating through a broad selection of services on a single platform. Up until now, superapps have lacked a unified and user-friendly experience.


So, What Does the Future Hold for Superapps?

Whether superapps will make a grand entry again into the market could be only judged by the notion of what they are offering better. Consumers won’t be looking for a fancy user interface and tons of options with no utility. What they’d want is a better user experience. For that, it’s essential that businesses:

  • Invest in UX research, UX design, and content design to streamline the experiences offered by superapps
  • Ensure transparency in how the user data is being collected across the touchpoints within the platform
  • Maintain consistent first-class experiences across all the services and assets integrated into the application
  • Maintain compliance with the evolving regulatory requirements of different regions (especially vital for fintech superapps)

When talking about the future, it’s noteworthy that the B2B market may also prove more fruitful because there are fewer existing apps there. Business leaders are likely to choose a mixed desktop-mobile strategy; therefore, B2B superapps may not need to incorporate all capabilities into a single smartphone interface. So, the entry barrier could be a bit lower here.

Overall, as the trend toward convenience and consolidation persists, there may be a rise in the use of superapps in different parts of the world. To unlock the potential of superapps, however, businesses must lay out a concrete implementation roadmap, something that Verinite can help with. Connect with us today to learn more.

Debasis Mohanty

Debasis heads the delivery for all client engagements at Verinite. He has a long track record of delivering high quality, responsive, secure and cost-effective business and technology solutions in BFSI domain. Outside his work, he is an amateur animator, a sports enthusiast, a voracious reader and a Trivia buff.

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