Top ‘Super Apps’ in Europe
Apps have undeniably changed how we live our daily lives. From keeping in touch with our loved ones and meeting new people online to ordering food and making money transfers, we use mobile apps to do much more today than we could in the past decades.
It might surprise you to learn that the typical smartphone owner has about 50–80 apps loaded on their device. Yet they will only use up to 9 applications per day, or 30 applications per month. As of January 2023, popular applications on most mobile phones, aside from those that come factory-installed and video games, include but are not limited to:
- Leading social media platforms and messengers such as Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, Telegram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, WeChat, Snapchat, and Pinterest.
- Top money transfer services such as Wise, TransferGo, Paysend, WorldRemit, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, Cash App, Xe, and TorFx.
- Best digital wallets such as Skrill, NETELLER, ecoPayz, MuchBetter, and Advcash.
- Global e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, Shopify, WooCommerce, and Etsy.
- Credible neobanks such as Revolut, Varo, Chime, Current, Monzo, Monese, N26, and Capital One.
Why do people keep so many apps on their phones and only use a few regularly? Well, it could be because of the availability of smartphones with more storage space, the need to have different apps for various purposes, the cheap cost of downloading an app from an online store, ignorance about "super apps," or probably the lack of better alternatives.
But what is a "super app"? Why is it called "super"? Are there examples of them in Europe and other parts of the world? Continue reading to find the answers to these questions and other related ones in this article.
What Is a Super App?
A "super app" is a mobile application that can perform the functions of several applications, such as messaging, banking, shopping, travel booking, and subscription management, to name a few. It is an all-in-one mobile solution that allows its users to perform multiple operations in one location, eliminating the need to use extra data and space in downloading and installing multiple apps.
The idea behind a "super app" is to create a single ecosystem with a wide range of integrated marketplaces, payment systems, and digital services. This is normally achieved through strategic collaboration with various commercial stakeholders, such as bank-fintech partnerships.
What Makes ‘Super Apps’ super applications?
Generally, super things are known for superiority in many aspects, which include greatness in power, excellence in performance, amazing quality of delivery, and robustness in security/safety. Similarly, for an app to be regarded as “super,” it has to meet certain requirements that define an ideal multi-service platform. They are convenience creation, inclusivity, and security. Let’s throw light on them.
Super apps provide high-quality convenience to their users. Through multifunctionality, they reduce the hassles people face while using different apps for several purposes. For example, those who used to have to remember different passwords and login details for various apps on their phones now do less of that. The reason is that with the right super app, they are able to confidently stop using the old apps or, better yet, uninstall them.]
Inclusivity or inclusiveness
Super apps are known for their inclusiveness, or the ability to provide equal opportunities for all to access multiple platforms in one location. Moreover, they are designed in user-friendly ways that enable them to be easily navigated by people of different capabilities and qualities in terms of age, language, technical knowledge, race, and gender. They encourage different social groups to interact easily and learn from themselves while living their normal daily lives wherever they are.
Security and privacy
Strong security and privacy features are most often added during the development of super apps. Hence, they normally come fully equipped with state-of-the-art account and data protection capabilities, which include those for avoiding fraud and accepting online payments securely.
Nonetheless, it is still the main responsibility of super app users to be security and safety conscious while dealing with people, especially strangers, as they move from one platform to another within the space. Login details should not be exposed to third parties, and efforts should be made to avoid sharing sensitive information. Always remember that hackers often target financial platforms.
History of Super Apps
The term “super app” was believed to be unknown until 2010, when a Turkey-born Canadian businessman and co-founder of Blackberry, Mike Lazaridis, introduced it into the worlds of financial and mobile technologies. According to his definition, a super app is a closed ecosystem of many mobile applications that provide an experience that is integrated, seamless, contextualised, and efficient.
Surprisingly, Asia, rather than Europe or America, has become the breeding ground for the super app boom more than a decade later. In other words, the credit for the development and promotion of super apps goes to Eastern Asia rather than the Western world.
Popular examples of super apps and countries where they were founded with dates include Alipay (China, 2004), Gojek (Indonesia, 2010), KakaoTalk (South Korea, 2010), WeChat (China, 2011), Grab (Malaysia, 2012), Zalo (Vietnam, 2014), PhonePe (India, 2015), Rappi (Colombia, 2015), OMNi (Costa Rica, 2019), and Tata Neu (India, 2022). But does this mean that there are no European super apps that could have been added to the list? Of course, there are! We will tell you about them in the next section.
So, China’s Alipay and WeChat are the super apps leading the charge in the transformation of the mobile app industry globally, thanks to Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group, and Tencent, respectively. In the last quarter of 2022, Alipay recorded 1.3 billion users, while WeChat had 1.24 billion users. As these and other super apps continue to have an influence on the future of global business, the number of users will only increase.
Top Successful Super Apps in Europe
Europe is lagging behind Asia in the development and use of super apps. Nevertheless, there are some successful examples of European super apps that you can download on your smartphone and enjoy using today. They are Revolut, Lydia, and Klarna. We will now introduce them and their key features.
Revolut is the single app for everything that has to do with fiat money, cryptocurrencies, and payments. It was founded by Nikolay Storonsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko and launched as a fintech startup in London, England, United Kingdom, in 2015. Since then, this financial super app has been helping individuals and businesses take care of their needs—from spending to savings and investments.
Revolut has over 25 million personal users and more than 500,000 business users. Also, you can use the app in more than 200 countries and regions, storing up to 29 different currencies in its wallet.
Key ‘super’ features and services:
- Payments and money transfers—sending and receiving money fast and easily worldwide.
- Cards (physical and virtual)—for all your online and in-person expenses with cashback locally and internationally.
- Subscriptions—for managing recurring payments smartly.
- Budgeting and analytics—for creating and following a personal budget, thereby controlling your money.
- Crypto exchange—for instantly buying and selling Bitcoin, Ether, and more than 90 other cryptocurrencies, using over 30 fiat currencies.
- Stocks—for investing in the shares of over 1,500 global companies with as little as $1.
- Commodities—for buying precious metals, such as gold and silver, with as little as $1.
- Security—your money in the app is protected by FCA regulated banks, and modern advanced security features are used to keep the platform safe from attacks.
- Pet insurance—for finding affordable cover for your dogs and cats and accessing a vet 24/7 with video call functionality available.
- Stays—for booking accommodation with up to 10% cashback all around the world.
- Donations—for finding causes you care about and making financial contributions towards them.
- Lounges and Smart Delays—for accessing over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.
- Revolut Shopper—a Chrome browser extension for secure and savvy online shopping.
Klarna is a leading licensed bank, payment solution provider, and financial super app that was founded in Sweden in 2005 by Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Niklas Adalberth, and Victor Jacobsson. It has more than 150 million active users, more than 400 retail partners, and over 450,000 merchants in 45 countries. The company is famous for its leadership in the BNPL solutions market.
Key ‘super’ features and services:
- Shop with Klarna—its ‘buy now pay later’ (BNPL) offering that enables consumers to shop for whatever they want now and pay for them later through an instalment plan. The app has several top stores, including eBay and Eventim, for buying numerous items ranging from electronic devices to perfumes.
- Fixed deposits—savings account for depositing an amount for 6–48-month terms and earning various interest rates; insured up to €100,000.
- Sell with Klarna—for merchants to partner with the company and easily increase their online sales, winning customers who like to buy now and pay later in up to 24 months, in 3 interest-free instalments, or in 30 days.
- Platforms and partners—Klarna works with the best e-commerce platforms and payment providers to simplify your shopping experience. Examples of them are Shopify, Magento, 4SELLERS, Adyen, CommDoo, CCV Shop, and Commonpay.
Lydia is more than a French mobile banking service. It is a super app and B2C fintech company that was founded by Antoine Porte and Cyril Chiche in 2013. Similar to Revolut, this app takes care of the savings, payments, and investment needs of its more than 4 million users.
Key ‘super’ features and services:
- Banking accounts—current, shared (with up to 10 persons), and remunerated accounts for storing, spending, and earning money through cashback and interest.
- Investing—a trading account for investing in more than 2,500 companies and cryptocurrencies with as little as €1.
- Instant loans—for accessing instant credits from €100 to €3,000 and BNPL services.
- Moneypots—for requesting financial contributions from friends towards your birthday or any other social event by sending them a payment link generated from within the app.
- Mobile payments and cards (physical and virtual)—for online and in-store payments to merchants using its contactless Visa cards.
- Lydia roulette—a roulette that spins and reimburses you for every 1,000 payments made using the Lydia Visa cards.
- Cashback—for receiving up to 30% cash back when you make purchases at partner merchants.
- Donations—for making donations to charitable causes of recognised associations of your choice within the app.
- Security—the app uses the highest standards of security for IT and banking, which include asymmetrical RSA keys, SSL communications, and symmetrical 256-bit data encryption.
Why Do Consumers Like Super Apps?
As technology advances, consumers' expectations of convenience rise. Today, super apps are the height of ease when it comes to using mobile applications. They provide consumers with a comprehensive range of communication and commercial services in one app, saving them the time and effort of downloading different mobile packages.
- Superior convenience through access to many services within one app
- Consumers enjoy using less device storage and memory
- Creation of a solid online presence via in-app interaction with customers
- Massive consumer data generation, habit tracking, and reliable analytics
- Having a super app for your business inspires you to expand your services
- An ecosystem with multi-platform access increases privacy fears
- Hackers target financial super apps, hoping to steal users’ data or money
- Super app development is more difficult following massive and continuous coding to integrate several services over time
Why Businesses Need Super Apps
Super mobile applications are bringing in more money for businesses than ever. Customers enjoy having everything they need in a single app, as was previously noted, and businesses may benefit from this.
Super apps can help your business achieve a lot more than it could with ordinary mobile apps. They include:
- Attraction of a larger market as more consumers will see reasons to use one or more of the services integrated into your super app.
- Significant increase in sales and revenue as your customers get to do more transactions with your super app following the addition of new services to it.
- Customer loyalty improvement as consumers will see the need to use your app every day for a wide range of purposes, which could range from shopping to travel booking and banking.
- Automatic collection of valuable data from customers for a better understanding of their preferences and shopping behaviours.
Yes, a super app is needed for its obvious advantages, which we have outlined in this article. With super apps, you will not need to manage many single-purpose apps on your mobile device—several services will be available in one app.
Several factors, which are closely related to the Asian business environment and culture, are responsible for the success of super apps. They include the following:
a) A cheaper and wider smartphone market (especially in China) that encourages the use of smartphones.
b) Limited storage on most mobile devices, which does not allow consumers to install as many apps as they would like on their mobile devices, thus creating a need for a multipurpose app.
c) A high unbanked population that encourages people to use WeChat, Alipay, and other alternative apps to big banks and their credit cards.
d) Government support for the development of super apps to digitally connect its populous society, especially in China.
The Bottom Line
Consumers and businesses in different industries are already experiencing Super Apps as a global phenomenon with the potential to redefine social life and mobile device usage. There is already at least one application that aims to satisfy all of the user's wants and make life easier for them in some regions of the world. However, it is still unpredictable how widespread super apps will be in Europe, the Americas, and other parts of the world in the future due to privacy and data protection concerns.