top of page


Is the US ready for a super app?

Mobile apps have proliferated at an overwhelming pace. There are now literally millions of apps to choose from, giving users the ability to make free video calls, transfer bank funds, access medical care, order groceries, play games and just about anything else you can think of. With so many choices, it’s no surprise that data developers are beginning to talk about apps-of-apps—often called a super app.



  • There are currently more than 2.9 million apps available in the Google Play Store and 4.75 million apps available in the Apple App Store (Statista)

  • Most users have more than 80 apps installed on their phones. (TechJury)

  • According to app sales statistics, mobile apps could generate more than $935 billion in revenue by 2023. (Serpwatch)


The notion of super apps has been around for some time, with WeChat being the premier example. The Chinese app, with 1.24 billion users, has been widely adopted for a range of services such as chatting, service orders, and bill payments, among others. Despite the success of super apps in Asia, however, the concept has not taken off in the US.

The primary reason for this comes down to the absence of a compelling need for super apps, coupled with American consumers' preference to keep their options open and an aversion to placing all of their private data in one basket. Although in theory Americans think having all their apps linked might be more efficient, in practice they typically have no need or desire (at the moment, anyway) to order sushi through a banking app.

Despite this reticence, we might still be on the verge of seeing super apps enter the US market, though many misunderstand what a true super app does. Super apps are not just a collection of individual apps under a single roof but, instead, form an integrated closed ecosystem through the use of "mini programs." These mini programs, lightweight apps that run inside a primary app, enable a single app to perform the functions of multiple apps.

Mini programs offer several benefits, including faster loading times due to caching on the device, seamless updates, tight integration with over 60 entry points, and cost-effectiveness in development. In Asia, the adoption of super apps was driven by several factors, including the prevalence of under-powered smartphones, the transition of the unbanked population to mobile payments, and government support.

In the US, however, the scenario is different. Phones can easily handle a multitude of apps, the population has more banking options than it knows what to do with, and the government has no intention of supporting a private app industry. In addition, consumers and regulators alike are concerned about data privacy and security. The recent regulatory scrutiny of major tech companies, particularly the MAMAA group, has only heightened these concerns. Americans also tend to like to keep their options open. A closed-garden approach rarely resonates with them.

Although consumers are not yet demanding an all-in-one app, service providers are always exploring ways to enhance their current offerings, and a super app has caught the attention of several big names. The industry is rife with rumors of Microsoft building a super app using Bing as the foundation, while Elon Musk has tweeted his ambitions to turn Twitter into a one-stop-shop and Mark Zuckerberg has mapped out his vision of turning WhatsApp into a super app. Reports of Paypal and Walmart, as well as several major banks, looking to integrate services into their current apps add to the suggestion that super apps are poised to be one of the most significant technology innovations in 2023, despite the privacy and security concerns. With the potential to offer a seamless user experience and integration, super apps could be set to change the way we use mobile applications.


bottom of page