EY estimates that the market size of global embedded finance will grow from $264billion in 2021 to $606billion as early as 2025. With the space set to dramatically disrupt the financial world across the globe, The Fintech Times seeks to understand how.
Super apps are one specific area that looks ready to explode worldwide. While the likes of WeChat, Alipay and Grab have already enjoyed success across Asia; The Fintech Times asked the experts what factors have driven the success of super apps already.
“Achieving a higher financial harmony” with super apps
Paula Costea is vice president of product management at FintechOS, a global technology provider for banks, insurance and financial services companies. Costea explains what makes super app offerings so attractive to consumers.
“Super apps offer customers access to personalised products and services in a convenient, simple way, all in a single app highly contextualised to their needs. We see successful super apps offering a mobile marketplace designed around targeted consumer lifestyles that presents them with value-added bundled offers.
“Fintechs, e-commerce players, technology providers, social media platforms and other companies are all striving to launch combined offers by packaging FMCG, travel, transportation, food products and financial products and services (current accounts, loans, investments or savings) that can help them grow and retain their customer base.
“Moreover, mixing insurance products with healthcare services in a gamified way can support users in building better, healthier behaviours and achieving a higher financial harmony. Creating a rich ecosystem of partnerships and leveraging data to create tailored products and bundled offers with easy distribution that complement a customer’s lifestyle, are the key success drivers,” Costea explained.
Convenience of super apps
Jason Fuentes is the vice president of business development at Wildfire Systems, an enterprise platform that enables clients to offer cashback rewards and money-saving features. Here, Fuentes outlines the evolution of apps:
“Largely, successful super apps have one major theme in common: they maximise value through convenience by aggregating a variety of features or services that solve multiple needs of the user within a singular and unified app experience. In the early days of the App Store, apps were mostly designed as point solutions, giving meaning to the now famous phrase ‘There’s an app for that’ which Apple first marketed fourteen years ago.
“Fast forward to today, instead of relying on multiple bespoke apps that each specialise in solving singular use cases, super apps instead combine and connect a variety of these otherwise disparate services or features, into a unified gathering point.
“Similarly, the best apps also have unified multiple experiences that are analogous and complementary to the other features within the app. For example, Uber solves mobility, addressing both the need to get somewhere as well as having food, etc. brought to you.
“Similarly, financial super apps, such as PayPal, Revolut, and SoFi, have combined feature sets that enable users with complete money management solutions, from comprehensive banking services to investing, P2P payments, loans and even crypto.
“Sure, an app that specialises in one such feature may provide a more favourable or curated experience for that one service, but relying on multiple apps to accomplish the same set of tasks that can also be handled in one super app comes at the cost of convenience, not to mention remembering multiple logins, updating payment methods, and navigating a distinctly unique UI for each.”
Super apps can “expand economic opportunities”
Frode Berg, managing director for Europe at AI-powered credit risk decisioning platform Provenir, explains the potential growth of super apps across the globe:
“A recent report from Gartner predicts that more than half of the global population will become daily users of multiple super apps by 2027. The emergence and rapid adoption of super apps are in response to providers’ desire to provide customers with easy access to financial products and services and support all along the customer lifecycle with the goal of improving wallet share and customer lifetime value.
“The super app concept enables financial institutions to combine different elements seamlessly – i.e. customer interface, product and service providers and delivery channels to create attractive offers.
“The rise of the super app is an extension of the sector’s focus on transforming the user experience and digital transformation.
“From a customer perspective, super apps organise all offerings, services and support in one place that’s mobile and ultra-convenient, offering the ultimate in seamless experiences and ease of use. Offerings and services — both on a local and global scale – can now be accessed in the palm of one’s hand – and all from a known and trusted brand. This can help expand economic opportunities and possibilities on several levels – bringing local resources to users which stimulates the local economy and also serving under and unbanked populations in areas where there exists a lack of financial services.”
How has Asia harboured the most success in the space?
Soren Bested, chief operating officer at digital platform developer Agent IQ, outlines which factors and sequence of events have primarily led to the success of super apps; especially across Asia:
“1. Digital maturity – Leading tech companies in the U.S. started out before the widespread adoption of smartphones and thus were desktop-first businesses. Super apps also emerged in Asia in a mobile-first environment where consumers were not already locked into a diverse array of separate apps and Asian players were able to quickly grow their user base while bolting on new services.
“2. Regulatory environment – US payments innovation continues to be hampered by reliance on debit and credit payment systems. The combination of a larger unbanked and underbanked population and poor debit and credit penetration created fertile ground for mobile payments. Limited government regulation relating to data privacy and financial oversight enabled the deployment of P2P lending services.
“3. Cultural differences – Surveys from KPMG, Bain, and the World Bank have all shown that Asian consumers tend to be more willing to adopt new digital technologies than their American counterparts. Specific aspects of Asian culture (e.g. red packet giving) have also created fertile ground for adoption.”
“The economy of emotions”
Arslan Ibrahim, founder and CEO of Shariah-compliant financial app Yoosr, puts it simply – it’s all about “the economy of emotions”.
Ibrahim explains: “Success relates to the rise of the online part of the economy of emotions: online e-commerce, travel, doing groceries, subscriptions and more. All of these had:
“A) the core financial part of it (the transaction)
“B) related life stories (e.g. Taking your partner on holiday, buying a house for your family, buying a car to drive your kids around or subscribing to a family plan streaming).”