What would we do without smartphone apps? Perhaps a better question: what will we do with super apps as these all-in-one mobile marvels come out in force?
Uber’s super app plans are generating buzz, with widely published reports on Wednesday (April 6) saying the platform is adding restaurant reservations, travel bookings and more functions to its core ride-hailing and delivery-logistics features, one app for consumers and another for drivers.
“Everyone values the freedom to make travel arrangements in a simple and convenient way,” Jamie Heywood, Uber’s regional general manager for U.K., northern and eastern Europe, told Financial Times, “which is why we’re excited to become a one-stop-shop for all your travel needs.”
The super app news comes a month after the unveiling of Uber Explore, the experience browsing and booking engine recently added to the Uber app. On March 1, Uber teased Wednesday’s announcement: “Keep an eye on your app – we plan to expand Explore to more cities in the coming weeks and months, along with more event opportunities and experiences offerings.
Calling super apps a “growth lever” for Uber’s future, Heywood’s remarks channel a sentiment shared by more consumers and companies in more sectors as smartphones are effectively our remote controls for the digital world — and we all have too many apps on them.
The Connected Consumer In The Digital Economy, a PYMNTS study, found that 67% of all consumers — totaling roughly 173 million consumers — want a super app to manage their digital activities, while 11% would use a super app “to manage their entire digital lives.”
Get the study: The Connected Consumer In The Digital Economy
Too Many Choices?
The explosion of smartphone apps in the past decade led to widespread worries that app stores were — and likely still are — filled largely with “zombie apps” that few people will ever download and even fewer will engage with regularly.
Combined with the paradox of choice, identity verification friction and more, the idea of one app to rule them all is gaining traction in key sectors from mobility to money.
PayPal’s super app took wing in the third quarter last year with a host of features demonstrating the power of an all-in-one app concept that rolls up a high-yield savings account, in-app shopping tools enabling rewards, payroll direct deposit, buy now, pay later, and several other features.
“The number of consumers using digital wallets is expected to double to 4.4 billion globally by 2025, and nearly half of consumers (48%) already cite simplicity as the top reason to use a digital wallet,” PayPal said in a press release. “The new PayPal app aims to address this by offering an all-in-one app as the primary destination for customers to easily manage their day-to-day financial lives.”
Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in March, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman talked up the benefits of super app ecosystems, saying, “having that capability allows us to have more data and information honestly, to help inform a consumer [about] whether they can get credit, so these things all play together.”
As PayPal and Uber lead the super app charge in the U.S., and with Asia already heavily invested in the concept, many believe it’s time for a European super app with banking at its core.
“What [consumers] want is something that is on par with Spotify and Airbnb and all these major category defining companies in other sectors for banks,” Cyril Chiche, co-founder and CEO of French FinTech Lydia, told PYMNTS. “We don’t have this for banks, and we need one.”
China’s WeChat is the original super app, but as PYMNTS reported last year, “WeChat Pay handles billions of dollars a day — though it’s a transactional platform and doesn’t extend loans. By removing the payments capability, it would have fewer super app functions and less convenience.”