What is a Super App? What are the criteria that differentiates an App from a Super App?

A super app is essentially a one-stop app created by a company, bundling a bunch of services or separate apps within it, aspiring to cover every need of the consumer such as social media, travel, cab services, movie tickets, utility payments, insurance, food, fashion, marketplaces, content, health and wellness to name a few. These offerings will often be bound by a common account and a robust in-app payment system.

On the contrary, any other app in general will be specialising in one of these services or categories such as Uber for cabs, Swiggy for food and grocery delivery, and Netflix for movies and content.

What are some of the well-known Super Apps in the world today?

The phenomenon of super apps gained more prominence in the East, especially China as compared to the West. China’s WeChat is currently the most sophisticated super app globally. It started as a messaging app and now offers social media services, marketplaces, cab hailing, making dinner reservations, booking movie tickets and so on—all through instant messaging. As of 2020, WeChat had over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Alipay too has treaded a similar path in China and has a massive userbase. Meanwhile, Indonesia has Gojek as its mainstay super app, which is now GoTo.

Success of super apps in the emerging markets is not a co-incidence. According to a report by Sturgeon Capital, “Super apps are strongly aligned with emerging market governments, not least because of their role in shrinking the grey economy. The Indonesian President fired a cabinet member who appeared to be anti-Gojek and then appointed Gojek’s founder to his next cabinet. This is in stark contrast to the US and EU leaders, who are extremely hostile to the super app ambitions of Amazon, Facebook, and Google.”

Companies in the West, too, have been exploring and adding several services within their apps gradually but not explicitly coming out as a super app. Case in point, Amazon in India, also lets you pay utility bills, book travel, order food, groceries and so on.

Has India got its first Super App?

Yes, while apps like Paytm has been attempting a similar play, offering a multitude of services through a common app, including bill payments, ticket booking, gaming, investments and more, Tata Digital’s latest offering has brought together some of the top brands within their respective categories with a smoother and better user interface.

What are the salient features of Tata Neu?

Tata Neu includes some of its top in-house and acquired brands across services. The app is offering goods and services across fashion, finance, gadgets, groceries, hotels, healthcare, content, tech and travel. Top brands include AirAsia India, BigBasket, Croma, IHCL, Qmin, Starbucks, Tata 1mg, Tata CLiQ, Tata Play and Westside.

The key feature is its rewards programme, NeuPass, which enables members earn 5 per cent NeuCoins or more on every purchase which can be redeemed across categories. One NeuCoin will be equal to one rupee. There are added benefit too like free deliveries, exclusive offers, built-in credit line, early access to product launches and brand-specific privileges.

Are other Super Apps in the offing in India?

Among all others, Reliance Jio’s upcoming super app is to watch out for. The company intents offering a suite of services within its app and has been on an acquisition spree to meet its target. The app will have groceries, medicines, content, fashion and so on. The competition is going to intensify as Jio Platforms, RIL’s digital business subsidiary has Big Tech heavy weights, including Google, Microsoft and Facebook backing the company.

Apart from this, Flipkart’s PhonePe too has been partnering with several other companies like Ola, Swiggy, MakeMyTrip, IRCTC to name a few to enable services across categories through PhonePe Switch platform.