Everything You Should Know about Superapps

Yann Roll I 2:44 pm, 28th August

Mobile apps have taken the world by storm. They have made things easier for not only individuals but for businesses too. By allowing customers to handle all the things on the go, mobile apps enable them to get more things in less time. This also enables businesses to reach out to more customers, help them access their services quickly, and eventually boost their revenue. 

As the number of smartphone users increases all around the world, mobile apps will continue dominating the technology space in 2023 and beyond. As per reports, an average user has almost 40 apps on their smartphone. Out of these, they spend 89% of their time juggling between 18 apps (Source: Simform, 2021). 

Some users even believe that things would be much easier and quicker for them if different functionality of different apps are consolidated into one. A survey was conducted on 3,166 smartphone users and out of them, 67% of individuals accept that they want just a single app to manage their whole digital life (Source: PYMNTS, 2022). 

This is exactly the whole concept behind superapps. They are applications similar to a Swiss army knife. They come with multiple functionalities and component tools - also known as miniapps - that the app users can use or remove as per their requirements. 

What exactly are superapps ?  

Simply put, a superapp is a smartphone application that groups together multiple apps into one. The term "superapps" was coined in 2010 by the funder of Blackberry, Mike Lazaridis. The core idea of superapps is that they offer a more efficient, streamlined, and seamless experience to the user. 

Superapps  run on a platform that integrates different app functionalities and enables app services to provide multiple features in a single place. A superapp can provide users with features like messaging, payment, online shopping, etc. - all in one place. 

For example, instead of having multiple applications for ordering food, booking a cab, and booking movie tickets, users can have a superapp that enables them to do everything. It has all kinds of features and functions. 

The best thing about superapps is that users can create a personalized experience for themselves by installing their favorite miniapps from the superapps. Miniapps are designed to perform one specific task. There is no separate marketplace for miniapps, and they can be found and installed from within the superapps.  

According to Gartner, almost 50% of the world's total population will be using superapps  by 2027. 

How do superapps work?  

Superapps basically comprise an ecosystem that allows internal developers and external partners to deploy various miniapps and integrate them with superapps. In this way, the superapps carry different functions of various miniapps and allow users to access a broader range of services within the same application. 

With superapps, users only need to log in and put their bank details once into the app. After that, they can access all the things without the need to switch between multiple apps on the phone. Since the users have entered their login ID and password in one application, it also reduces the risk of data breaches and hacking attempts. 

Superapps  can be built by using platforms and frameworks like: 

    - Front-end framework that helps in deploying miniapps 

    - Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that offers cloud solutions 

    - Low-code app platforms 

    - Multi-experience (MX) development platforms 

With the help of superapps, companies can also bundle a bunch of features and services and offer them to their users. They can integrate several miniapps in the ecosystem and help their customers in enjoying all the features together. This enables them to reach a wider audience base and grow their business without the need to launch different applications and platforms. 

What are the uses of superapps? 

Superapps  are created to allow customers to access various app functionalities in one place. Their main goal is to offer financial transactions and payment processing capabilities to the users so that they can buy different things from the same application. Superapps are all-encompassing communication and commerce solutions that make things more simplified and streamlined. 

One of the best examples of superapps is the Chinese application called WeChat. Initially, the app was created to offer instant messaging services to users. But soon, it turned into a complete superapp that now offers features like food ordering, online shopping, appointment booking, social media features, etc. 

Obstacles in creating superapps 

While superapps are becoming more popular with each passing day, creating them is still not as easy as creating a traditional app. There are many obstacles that developers come across while designing a super app interface. 

Some of the major issues that developers face while creating superapps  include the following: 

Creating an entire ecosystem that is capable of handling different features of different miniapps is a major issue. While the technical implementation in itself is not a big challenge, developing the ecosystem for superapps can be an issue for most developers. 

Further, not all users interact with different apps in the same way. Users have different expectations and needs from a mobile application. Thus, coming up with an idea and design of a superapp that meets the expectations of a large audience is a huge challenge in itself. In case the app isn't useful or meets the expectations of the masses, retaining it in the market will not be easy. 

The bottom line 

Superapps are all-encompassing applications into which third-party publishers and internal developers deploy miniapps. These miniapps can be installed and activated by the users as and when needed. 

Superapps are designed to replace the need for downloading multiple applications and allow customers to access everything in one place. They also ensure that businesses have a composable system where they can select and assemble multiple app components to satisfy the need of their users. 

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