Even before super apps made a major splash in the U.S., these monolithic, multi-faceted digital platforms were already staging a comeback of sorts. Their re-emergence comes in the wake of a recent tweet in which Tesla CEO and soon-to-be owner of Twitter Elon Musk gave an unsubtle endorsement for the genre, in a quintessential Muskian style.
“Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app,” Musk tweeted Tuesday (Oct. 4) evening, in an 11-word message to the masses that follow him, and even those that don’t, that the Super App concept was back.
If true, PYMNTS research on the viability of, and consumers’ desire for, a single smartphone application that enables everything from retail purchases to payments to online banking in a digital tool — shows overwhelmingly that the answer is “yes.”
Specifically, PYMNTS’ July study “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” a collaboration with PayPal, surveyed over 9,000 consumers in Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. and found 72% of all respondents are at least “slightly” interested in a super app, and 25% are “very” or “extremely” interested.
“Generally, the level of interest in a super app rises along with respondents’ income and level of tech integration. Even so, most consumers in our lowest income bracket are interested in a super app, at 63%,” the study found.
Echoing that sentiment and expounding on it, PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster recently wrote, “Super Apps are banking that correlations in digital activities will drive demand for consumers to want a single place to digitally engage in a set of activities that once required multiple apps and logins,” noting that Super Aps have already seen solid traction in China and other Asian markets.
Old is New
To be sure, the super app age is both old and new, as domestic efforts began in earnest in the U.S. about year ago with PayPal’s Sept. 2021 announcement of its PayPal App, billed as “a single place to manage their bill payments,” providing early wage access, a digital wallet, direct deposits from bank partners, loyalty, messaging, money transfers, QR code payments, buy now, pay later (BNPL) services and even crypto trading.
As recently reported by Business of Apps, PayPal had 426 million users as of last year, adding that “there were 24 million merchant accounts on PayPal in 2019. That was the last time PayPal reported this figure.”
At the same time, a July PayPal blog post noted that “super apps have boomed in Asia, with giants like China’s WeChat and AliPay, Singapore and Malaysia’s Grab, and Indonesia’s GoJek leading the charge. Active WeChat users now total 1.2 billion worldwide. These numbers will keep growing as super apps continue to impact the global future of commerce.”
However, there are key differences between the U.S. and Asia in regarding super apps. Fintech News recently cited Ron Shevlin, chief research officer at Cornerstone Advisors, as saying most Asian consumers own “under-powered smartphones” that aren’t made to manage dozens of separate apps, while U.S. consumers tend to have the latest smartphones, and many prefer an app selection.
But super apps are circling the U.S. market, not just from Asia but also in regions like Latin America. On Tuesday (Oct. 4) the Amadeus Travel Platform announced it will provide travel data and booking capabilities for the Bogotá, Colombia-based Rappi super app.
With an over 30 million estimated users, the statement said “Rappi and Amadeus are innovating together to further develop the travel vertical, and add more features and services to continue to scale the offering. Amadeus and Rappi share a vision of frictionless travel fed by use of hyper contextualized data, which is a cornerstone of the companies’ partnership and the value proposition for Rappi users.”
This regionality is reflected in findings from “The Super App Shift: How Consumers Want To Save, Shop And Spend In The Connected Economy,” which found “significant differences in how consumers in the nations surveyed align with key [super app] personas. For example, 55% of American financial wellness-seekers are interested in using a super app for their shopping preferences and habits, while just 48% of U.K. financial wellness-seekers said the same.”
While the on-again, off-again, on-again purchase of Twitter plays out, it seems safe to say that the future of Twitter, and efforts to monetize and recoup its $44 billion price tag, looks set to include some sort of everything or super app component within it or alongside of it.
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Read More:Do US Consumers Want a Super App?